A Few Words on the Election by Pearl Cleage

pcleagePearl Cleage, playwright/novelist/poet/citizen

I want to offer a few words about our upcoming presidential election to be held on November 8, 2016. The reason I only need a few words – 5 to be exact – to say my say is that I am not interested in arguing a position, promoting a specific candidate or platform or discussing the record of our current president, the ever amazing Barack Obama. I have only one mission between now and Election Day and that is to make sure everybody I know is ready to vote. That means, you have registered, checked the location of your current polling place and secured the necessary ID to vote in your state/territory/district. It also means ordering an absentee ballot now if there is even the remotest chance you might not make it to the polls on Election Day and returning that ballot the day after it arrives so you won’t forget to do it. Early voting is always a good option for busy people. You should also make childcare arrangements in case there are long lines at the polls. Here too, advance preparation is key. Take water and a protein bar for sustenance. Wear comfortable shoes. Congratulate yourself on being a good citizen at a time when your country truly needs you.

If you can check off everything on this list, you are registered and ready to vote. 5 words – registered and ready to vote – will make all the difference on Election Day. 5 words – easy to adapt as a personal affirmation: I am registered and ready to vote. Easy to utilize as a friendly inquiry: Are you registered and ready to vote? Easy to offer as an invitation to action: Let’s get registered and ready to vote.

You will find the more you use those 5 little words, the easier it is to say them. To your family. To your friends. To your mail carrier. To the woman behind you in line at the Post Office or the man sitting beside you at church. After a few days, you will share my enthusiasm for these 5 little words and realize that in the midst of all the fussing and fighting and name calling and bigotry and womanhating and lying through the teeth, the only way this election will come out wrong is if sane, right thinking people aren’t registered and ready to vote when November 8 rolls around. And if that happens, all the angry tweets and indignant Facebook rants you can post aren’t going to make a damn bit of difference. ‘Nuff said.


Blogging While Blue: In November 2001 I won the election for mayor of Atlanta  as a first-time candidate. Miraculously the election was decided without a runoff between the top two candidates. Less than 200 voters decided the outcome of that election. Polls and those running for office tout the importance of every election. That is always true…once again we are faced with clear choices for President and U. S. Senate. The candidates hold different opinions on the issues and have totally different records, experiences, and skills they bring to bear as leaders. My 2001 election taught me how important every vote is…..since I believe  I would have lost the run-off election… There is no run off in the Presidential election.

In Georgia, you can register to vote in the Presidential election until October 11. Yours could be the deciding vote. 


  1. Well said, and what a great idea! I think I will follow Pearl’s sage advice.

  2. Tell them Pearl!! I keep all of this mess off of my Facebook page because some folk have decided that ranting on social media is activism. It isn’t!

  3. I have been saying and posting this for months now. Every time I share a post related to the election. In addition to being ‘registered and ready to vote’ I suggest we all help someone else get registered, ready and provide them with a ride to the polls if they need one. This election will be decided by turnout!

  4. Earlene Harris says:

    THANK YOU PEARL!!! Your piece is just the right amount of encouragement and just the right length. You offer very simple, easy to follow directions. Now, all we need is action!!
    Earlene A. Harris

  5. Charlene Braud says:

    Thank you Pearl!


  6. This is a very important step in a series: next educate on the incentives. Local elections matter and are even more relevant to voters’ futures than the Presidential elections. By that I mean if we don’t marry registration to strategic outcomes like the Supreme Court appointments and Congressional elections as well as our City and State elections registration and readiness won’t be enough.

  7. Love the five words registered and ready to vote! Here’s where you check to ensure you are in fact registered and your polling location:
    Georgia My Voter Page