August 14, 2016

Atheists, Please Register to Vote

Register to vote African American 1960s signIf you live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age, are religiously unaffiliated (i.e., you are an atheist, humanist, skeptic, and/or freethinker), value the separation of church and state, and have not previously registered to vote, please consider doing do. Despite the growing numbers of religiously unaffiliated persons, too few of us are participating in the democratic process. If we want to preserve the separation of church and state, continue to make progress toward eroding the religious privilege which continues to afflict much of our culture, and move our society in an increasingly secular direction, we need to change that.

According to a recent Pew survey (summarized here), only 62% of religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. are registered to vote. That means that no more than 62% of religiously unaffiliated Americans are eligible to vote in our elections. To put this in context, 71% of religiously affiliated persons in the U.S. are registered to vote. That means that a greater proportion of religious believers are eligible to vote than we are. And not surprisingly, religious believers are more likely to show up to the polls than we are. I think we can do better.

I understand that you might not be interested in voting in the 2016 presidential election, and I am not asking you to do so. I'm not going to join the chorus of voices telling you that this is the "most important election of our lifetimes." Not only am I not going to try to persuade you to vote in this election, I am not going to presume to tell you which candidate to support. I understand that you may well support a different candidate than whichever one I end up voting for. That's fine. I have no plans to heap moral condemnation on you for doing so.

But if all this is the case, why am I asking you to register to vote? I want you to have the option to vote, even if it is one you are not currently planning to utilize. At some point, you might decide that you are not completely satisfied with how your elected officials are functioning at the city, county, state, or federal level. And if that should happen, I want you to be in a position where you could do something to change it (i.e., voting). By registering to vote now, you will have that option. Voting is certainly not the only way to change things for the better, but it is a good option to have.

How to Register to Vote


For those of you who live in Mississippi, you can find information on voter registration here. You will see that the registration form can be downloaded, printed, and submitted through the mail.

For those of you who live in other states, go to your favorite Internet search engine and enter the name of your state followed by "voter registration." This will take you to the equivalent pages in your state. Many states now have voter registration forms that can be completed entirely online.

So what are you waiting for? Register to vote today!
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