BY DAVID PERRYMAN
A common problem for horsemen is making sure that their horse drinks enough water. A horse may go for a couple of weeks without food, but it is at severe risk after three or four days without water. In fact, healthy horses need to drink between five and 20 gallons of water per day depending upon the temperature and the horse’s activity.
We know that leading a horse to water is much simpler than getting it to drink and the problem is exasperated when the horse is moved to a new location. The move and the strange environment often cause horses to refuse to drink.
It is possible however to coax a horse to increase its water intake by keeping tanks and buckets clean and in the shade and the water as close to 50 degrees as possible. Another hint is to bring a bucket that is familiar to the horse when traveling.
Finally, follow the example of old timers who often “spiked” the water with a little flavoring using molasses. Today, a subtle touch of Kool-Aid, apple juice or powdered Gatorade might provide just the right incentive.
Just like horses neglect to drink, too many Oklahomans neglect to vote. Although Oklahoma’s population has increased by nearly 10% since 2005, the number of registered voters in Oklahoma has declined by almost 120,000. Also, fewer than three out of every 10 voters cast a ballot in the November 2014 Oklahoma governor’s election.
Our representative democracy will no longer be representative of its citizenry if its citizens fail to vote. In fact, the only action that can counter out of control political contributions of corporations and special interest groups is a voter casting a vote at the ballot box.
Partisan gerrymandering protects incumbent politicians and the political party that establishes congressional and legislative boundaries. It hinders the ability of voters to elect the candidates of their choice. Oklahomans must take steps to reclaim the power to set district boundaries through non-partisan redistricting commissions.
Apathy and futility cause low voter turnout; however, proven methods have been successful in other states to increase voter registration and voter participation. A healthy democracy is dependent upon educated and informed voters who vote for the common good.
North Dakota has no voter registration requirement. Obtaining a driver’s license or a state-issued ID qualifies a citizen to vote. The three states that have instituted all-mail elections have seen substantial cost savings and substantial increases in voter turnout. Compared to Oklahoma’s 29% turnout, Colorado had a 71% turnout and Washington and Oregon both voted at approximately 65%.
Both of these as well as other voting procedure reforms will be reviewed in Interim Study 2015-56 before the state House Elections and Ethics Committee.
If our horse neglected to drink water, we would do everything in our power to save it. Doesn’t our democracy deserve even more attention?
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, serves District 56 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives