Well, it is that time again—the season where you see all the political TV ads and yard signs. Receive phone calls and canvassing for candidates in various elections, all vying for your VOTE. YES… It’s Election Time! For many, this season is just another time filled with campaign promises that will be broken. Others feel like it does not matter if they vote or not, and then others struggle to figure out who to vote for. Then on the other side, you have organizations all over the United States; Alabama is no exception, busy trying to figure out the best strategy to educate constituents, increase civic engagement and get voters to the polls.
Unfortunately, time and time again, in Alabama, so many eligible voters fail actually to cast their vote. Why? I believe the answer falls into three categories.
- Lack of strategic planning and collaboration
- Civics 101
- Follow Through
Let’s take the first one. As stated earlier, many organizations are working on voter registration efforts, some candidate forums, and some canvassing for their candidate of choice. However, if these same organizations would collaborate with other like-minded organizations, they could increase their efforts, cover more territory, and have more effective bigger candidate forums. However, these organizations can not stop with voter registration, forums, and canvassing. That is step one. We must follow up with these registered voters. Have events like Souls to the Polls and other Ride Sharing plans. Churches use their church vans as the point of contact for community members who need a ride to the polls. In other words, have a plan of action in place and publicize it. Having a lot of registered voters is excellent but will not change anything if they do not exercise their right and VOTE.
You will be surprised just how many of us do not understand government and how or what the different political offices are responsible for. More importantly, how these elected officials’ decisions affect our quality of life. Civics 101. We need to hold information sessions and create flyers/pamphlets with “Did You Know” facts. Leaders (Pastors, Organization Presidents) take some time during meetings to speak to your membership about the political process and candidates’ positions on topics that personally affect your people. Trust and believe once the veil of political ignorance is removed from our eyes, we will never miss an election.
Follow-through is important for anything we do. However, we need more of follow-through with our elected officials. Candidates make campaign promises. This, we know. However, we as constituents need to make sure, even respectfully demanding when necessary, that these elected officials follow through on what they promised and hold them accountable to serve ALL of their constituents, not just a select few.
In addition, we need to be more civically engaged. When elected officials are not performing to our liking, we let them know by attending meetings, writing letters, and going to the newspaper and media to voice our concerns. Tell them we will meet you at the Polls if that does not work. Then when they are up for reelection, campaign hard and heavy and vote them OUT. Make them ONE termer or unseat a long-termer. The point is that if these elected officials know that their constituents are watching, holding them accountable and that if they do not do better, they WILL be voted out, our voices will become powerful. Then we make our government what it is intended to be, We The People.
I have also developed a strategy (2022 General Election Strategic Plan) to get people out to vote, where I expound on these categories. I truly believe that if we are more strategic, focus on the future, and quit looking back, we can make a huge impactful change here in Alabama. Please understand no candidate will ever check off all of your must-haves. But we can no longer use that as an excuse not to show up to vote. I tell people who give me this excuse: “Vote for the candidates that MOST align with what is best for you and your quality of life. But VOTE!”
Ms. Audrey Mitchell was born and raised in Florence, AL. She is the daughter of Napoleon Mitchell and Barbara J. Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell graduated from Bradshaw High School and went on to Tuskegee University, where she graduated in 1993 with her BS Degree in Computer Science and Information System and a minor in Mathematics. Her thirst for knowledge and her drive for success compelled her to work on and complete her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix online program in 2005.
Audrey Mitchell is the proud mother of one daughter, Shacey Mitchell, and the proud grandmother of a 12-year-old grandson, Kacey, and a 1-year-old granddaughter, Sukoji, aka SJ. Both are the light of her world.
Ms. Mitchell is a General Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and a Silver Life Member of NAACP. Ms. Mitchell holds several positions in the Tri-County Branch of NAACP, including assistant treasurer, education chair, and Legal Redress committee secretary, where she helps investigate complaints filed by the public, and her most recent and proudest position, Youth & College Advisor. As Youth & College Advisor, one of her most urgent tasks was to reactivate the UNA NAACP College Chapter. Mission accomplished, and she loves interacting, mentoring, and motivating the next generation to use their voices to affect REAL change.
Ms. Mitchell believes in using your voice to speak for justice, create change, and ensure that the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves are heard loud and clear, no matter the personal costs. Because of this, Ms. Audrey Mitchell recently stepped onto the political stage where she ran for and was elected to the State Democratic Executive Committee for District 1.
Audrey Mitchell truly believes that God placed her in the positions that she is in so that she could strive every day to make people’s lives a little better than the day before.
Audrey’s philosophy is, “You can truly accomplish anything you set your mind to. However, you have to stop the excuses, do the work, and be willing to work through any obstacle that is placed in your way.”