[r63] Messmer Report: Go Vote!

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, October 22, 2010

It's sad, but true: Americans know less about the people who make our laws than they do about the people who made the latest song playing on the radio.

While almost 90% of 14-17 year olds know who Hannah Montana is-(not a huge surprise)-less than half of them were able to name the party in control of Congress. And that isn't saying much, considering there are only two options!

About 3 in 4 adults can name the party of the governor, but only if they were over the age of 32.

Young adults- classified in this study as being 18 to 32 year olds- could only name the governor's party about 60 percent of the time.

14-17 year olds, again, hovered around the 50 percent mark.

The moral of this story is that age is usually likely to increase someone's awareness and involvement in the political process, but not by much.

This 2009 study was conducted by the Representative Democracy in America, Voice of the People Project, and the finding that bothered me the most was this: "Most Americans, whatever their age, haven't communicated with a member of Congress or a state legislator on a public policy issue or a governmental problem in the last year."

So often, the attitude I hear is, "those government people are going to do whatever they're going to do, whether I like it or not." But that's just not the case.

You, as the constituent, hold all the cards.

You have free and open access to your elected officials, who make huge decisions for our communities, state and country every day. Why not take advantage of the fact that they are accountable to you?

There are a few days left prior to the election. If you still need time to research the candidates and make a decision, there's time for that too.

Just remember, when you go, to bring a photo I.D. issued by either the state of Indiana or the U.S. government that exactly matches the name you used to register-no nicknames, maiden names or abbreviations.

If you do not already have a valid photo ID, you can obtain an Indiana photo ID card free of charge from any Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch that issues driver licenses and ID cards.

The BMV even has extended hours leading up to the election. Just visit http://www.photoid.in.gov/ for more information or to locate the BMV that is nearest to you.

And if you have a question about the way state laws are crafted, voted on, or even how they will affect you-feel free to call my office!

My legislative assistant, Clinton, is very knowledgeable and is more than happy to answer any question he can. Call toll-free at 1-800-382-9841, or directly at 317-232-9648.