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Episode 16: Thank You for Voting with Erin Geiger Smith

podcast Aug 16, 2021

In this episode, Sharon interviews Erin Geiger Smith who is a lawyer-turned-journalist and the author of Thank You for Voting. If you’ve been paying attention to headlines in the past few months, you know the conversation around voting laws is now more heated than ever. But why? To give us a better look into why we are here now, Erin walks us through the history of voting in the U.S., covering everything from voter suppression tactics to why some women refused to eat until they were given the right to vote. As well, Erin debunks commonly believed myths about voting and provides us with practical and fun tips on how we can increase voter turnout in our communities. Lastly, Sharon and Erin discuss the ways the media reports on voting issues and why voting laws should not be partisanized. 

Link to Full Episode: 

This Episode Will Teach You:

  • The history of voting in the United States 
  • Why the fight for voting rights took so long for many different groups 
  • Historical voter suppression and the remnants that exist today 
  • Why an individual’s vote truly matters 
  • Why it is important to be involved in local government 
  • How we can all positively impact voter turnout 
  • Why some states have great voter turnout while others do not 
  • Why voting should an an intergenerational and fun activity 
  • How you can teach your kids about the importance and process of voting 
  • Why voting laws are not a partisan issue 

3 Biggest Takeaways:

  • Sharon and Erin discuss Erin’s book, “Thank You for Voting,” and uncover the long and winding history of American voting rights. Erin emphasizes that voting rights have been a long fought struggle, involving protests, lobbying and hunger strikes, and reminds listeners that voter suppression continues to this day. Voting suppression is any law or practice that makes it harder for citizens to vote, and Erin challenges people to look at the policies put in place within their local community and determine if the voting laws are helpful or harmful. 
  • Erin shares her expertise on voter turnout and addresses the main reasons many citizens are hesitant to vote in elections. Erin debunks the myth that one vote and one voice is not significant and claims that the biggest influence on elections is each individual citizen. As well, she explains how voter suppression tactics and negative attitudes about voting play a huge role in voter turnout. Erin and Sharon also speak on the importance of participating in local government and making your voice heard within your community. 
  • Lastly, Erin and Sharon talk about how every individual can positively influence voter turnout by encouraging family members, friends and colleagues to vote. In doing this, one vote turns into many. As well, it is important for voting to be an intergenerational activity. Because voting is a learned behavior, Erin claims that it is the older generation’s responsibility to teach younger voters the importance of voting and how to register to vote. Erin also discusses the media and how they report on voting laws. She urges listeners to not view voting as a partisan issue and read a variety of sources that report on this topic. 

About the Guest:

Erin Geiger Smith is a former lawyer and current journalist and author. After the 2016 election, Erin’s passion for voting rights began, and she devoted several years to becoming an expert on voting history and laws, eventually leading to the publication of her book, “Thank You for Voting.” Thank You for Voting examines the long and continuing fight for voting equality, why so few Americans today vote, and innovative ways to educate and motivate them. When Erin isn’t educating people about voting laws, she enjoys reporting on lifestyle and fitness.

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