12 Year-Old Activist Talks Voting Rights (Guest Post)

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Madison Kimrey

I have written several articles on Madison Kimrey and I invited her to write a guest post on Liberals Unite. She is 12 years-old. Every single word of this post is hers. As her byline states, she is an activist and those who have come to know her via social media and from her appearance on  Melissa Harris Perry, know that no one puts words in her mouth or mind. ~ Kimberley

Madison Kimrey is student, actress, aspiring writer and activist who fights for LGBT rights, humane treatment of animals, women’s rights and promotes youth activism and participation in democracy.

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September 1st marked the end of an important opportunity for teenagers in North Carolina to participate in democracy. The ability for 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote has been eliminated. For those not familiar with this program, teenagers who were 16 or 17 could fill out a voter registration form through civics education programs at their schools. Those forms were then held by the Board of Elections until the teenagers turned 18. At that time, their information would be verified and they would automatically be added to the voter rolls.

It’s important for the country to pay attention to the reasons given for the elimination of this program. When the NC Senate held hearings on NC’s new voter ID law, Senator Bob Rucho talked about his son pre-registering then being confused about when he was actually going to vote. Senator Rucho, who has served over seven terms, said he wrote a letter to the Board of Elections for clarification.

Despite the questioning of Rucho’s confusion by Senator Josh Stein, who has proven to be a champion for NC youth, the voter ID law passed with the elimination of pre-registration included. After the bill was passed, Governor Pat McCrory said he planned to sign it. When questioned about the elimination of pre-registration, the Governor said, “I don’t know enough … I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”

McCrory indeed signed the bill and then his office made the following statement about pre-registration, “This law will also remove the bureaucratic burden of having to re-certify the address and other identifying information for under-age voters by doing away with pre-registration of 16 and 17 year-olds. North Carolina was one of only eight states with the practice of ‘registering’ teenagers too young to vote.”

Wait, it gets worse. Other states have given teenagers the ability to pre-register to vote, the most recent being Colorado. Ross Kaminsky made the following comment in American Spectator about pre-registration in Colorado, “The law allows the registration of 16-year-old children by high schools’ deputy registrars (though the kids still cannot vote until the age of 18). Democrats realize that mushy-headed high school students, desperately seeking acceptance by their peers and teachers alike, a disproportionate share of whom will be outspoken liberals due to the naivety of youth and the self-serving nature of those receiving government paychecks, will likely register as Democrats. Given that people tend in adulthood to remain supporters of the teams of their youth, whether in politics or in sports, roping in children is clever Democrat strategery (misspelling his, not mine) but at least it is not an open invitation to fraud.”

I want to talk to Governor McCrory about pre-registration. Since he is so busy with so little time for reading even important things like legislation he is about to sign that affects young people in NC, I want to make sure he knows a few things. I want to make sure he knows that the legislation granting this opportunity for teens to pre-register passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. I want to make sure he knows that the majority of teenagers who registered under this program registered as Independents. I want to make sure he’s not confused. Maybe he has reasons he’s not saying for wanting to eliminate this opportunity for NC’s youth. I would like to respectfully listen to those reasons.

I started a petition on MoveOn.org to get support from other citizens to show Governor McCrory that other people he represents think it would be a good idea for him to meet with me. Governor McCrory responded to this request by calling it ridiculous and calling me a prop for liberal groups. Do you notice a theme here? Do you notice a very disturbing pattern in how the involvement of young people in democracy is being addressed?

These responses are not an example of leadership. These responses are not responses from adults who wish to encourage young people to be active in what’s going on in government. Regardless of anyone’s position on any issue, everyone in this country who cares a little bit about its future needs to stand up right now and say, “Hey, wait a minute.”

Right now, everyone needs to decide whether we want to send a message to our young people that they are ridiculous and can’t think for themselves, or a message that they are capable, intelligent and that caring about what’s going on and voting is our patriotic duty. That message should not depend on what party the young person best relates to or what their position on any issue is.

This young person is more than capable of thinking for herself. What’s ridiculous here is that young people are taught to pledge allegiance to the flag, encouraged to read the newspaper and student news magazines, are expected to take classes in history and civics, but get a message from their government we shouldn’t learn anything. Some of the people making these statements have children. Do they tell their own children they’re ridiculous? Some of the people who make these statements have studied education. Are these the lessons they want to teach?

Sign Madison’s petition: Pat McCrory: Let’s Sit Down and Enjoy a Snack Together

Visit Madison’s blog: Functional Human Being

Please stop by and ‘like’ her Facebook Page: NC Youth Rock 


Kimberley-SM Kimberley A. Johnson (BIO) – A.K.A. The Anti Coulter is the author of The Virgin Diaries and an activist for women’s rights. Like her on Facebook, Twitter or follow her on FB HERE.

 

Kimberley Johnson
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Kimberley Johnson

Kimberley A. Johnson (BIO) is the author of AMERICAN WOMAN: The Poll Dance & The Virgin Diaries and an activist for women’s rights. Like her on Facebook, Twitter or follow her on FB
Kimberley Johnson
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