The nation is again in turmoil, this time over the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, whose attendant controversy is legend at this point. Now, with confirmation a done deal, the nation will see how warranted — or not — the anxieties on both sides of the political spectrum might be, even right here in the Bayou Region.
Since the election of President Donald Trump there have been strong voices seeking an undoing of the election. Cries for impeachment or other legal means of unseating the president have loomed as loud as the “lock her up” references to his former opponent at one of his many rallies.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I am not a big fan of The Donald. I wasn’t before he started running and am not now.
But that is beside the point.
What his more vocal critics must remember is that the ballot still reigns as the means of selecting office-holders in our country.
The sometime dismal turnouts of voters in our very own back yard are indications that many of us are not living up to our civic duty of getting out to the polls and pulling the lever. Unless and until we have near-perfect turnouts the criticisms of Trump or anyone else ring slightly hollow.
Non-partisan efforts to turn out the vote are sorely needed locally and throughout the nation.
In Lafourche Parish the clerk of court is among public officials doing her best to encourage voting by everyone who is qualified, and she has put a program where her words are to make sure that what can be done is being done.
Annette Fontana is not only the Lafourche Parish Clerk of Court but also Chief Election Official for the parish. Last week she made a presentation to students at Central Lafourche High called “#OurBayouVotes.” The presentation highlighted the history of the youth vote, current political leaders and the upcoming elections. The program included several interactive activities that allowed students to understand the impact of youth voter decline in America. Students also had the opportunity to register to vote and step into a working voting machine to cast a ballot.
“Our goal is to emphasize the importance of the youth voter voice in America and the right to vote, and to ultimately increase voter turnout,” Fontana said of her effort. “The program is designed to help students register to vote and give them a certain level of comfort their first time stepping up to a voting machine on Election Day.”
The program is dedicated to reaching out to high school students and encouraging them to start the path toward lifelong civic participation. The Registrar of Voters Office and the Secretary of State partner in this program.
Its implementation is not limited to the one school where Fontana made her effort last week. She has expanded the #OurBayouVotes initiative with presentations to groups of seniors and other organizations throughout Lafourche, providing information about the availability of mail ballots and accessibility at the polling locations.
“There are many individuals that may not have transportation or access to the polling locations,” Fontana said. “Voting is a powerful right of every citizen and it is important that our voters are aware of their voting options.”
Truer words were never spoken. We cannot fairly criticize public officials — no matter who they are — for failing us when we ourselves fail the nation by not taking the time to vote.