I’m the 17%!

When I was a little girl, my mother always took me with her to the polls on Election Day.  She’d talk with me about who was running and ask my opinion, and then she’d let me pull the levers to choose the candidates.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world (okay, I was a nerdy kid).

Those childhood experiences were formative, though.  Not only did they cause me to see voting as an important (and fun) part of being an adult; they turned me into a lifelong voter.

On November 8thof this year, I went to my local polling place in Philadelphia.  Arriving just an hour before the polls closed, I was number 124 out of 738 registered to cast my vote that day.  That’s 17%.  More people vote in Dancing with the Stars competitions.

As a citizen and as a person of faith, I was disappointed.  Okay, I was mad.  Where was everybody?  In a city with 11% unemployment, a 45% high school dropout rate, and one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States, it is unimaginable to me that 83% of those registered didn’t vote.

The Catholic Church sees responsible citizenship as a virtue, and believes that participation in political life is a moral obligation.  We are called to contribute to the common good through the ballot box.  This is another reason why I vote.  I care about my community and about being a voice for good within it.

At Romero Center Ministries, we hope to encourage everyone to heed the Bishops’ call to participation in public life.  On March 23, 2012, we are holding our 12th Annual Romero Lecture Series: “Politics and the Pews: Your Faith, Your Vote & the 2012 Election”.  We hope to see you there!

In the meantime:

Glenna M. Harkins is the Director of Development and Events at Romero Center Ministries. She is a lifelong Philadelphian and proud participant in civic life.
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