Arizona’s Future: Civic Engagement, O’Connor House
Aug. 19, 2014
After serving on the highest court in the land, former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor continues her commitment to service with the O’Connor House, started three years after O’Connor retired from the supreme court in 2009, O’Connor House seeks to help increase voting rates. “O’Connor House is a non-profit organization that was started by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to help solve important social, economic and political problems through civil dialogue and civil action.” Said O’Connor House CEO, Sarah Suggs.
O’Connor House targets four key issues including civic responsibility. “We talk about the term ‘civic engagement’ and I think what we’re meaning when we talk with that is the notion that every one of us as citizens in our community needs to feel they’re a part of it and that they will vote when there are things to vote on, and that they’ll discuss things with fellow citizens where citizens’ opinions matter,” O’Connor said.
After Arizona ranked 45th in voter turnout in the 2012 presidential election, O’Connor launched the great voter challenge.
“In discussing this with justice O’Connor, we realized that this is simply not acceptable. And we have to do something about it.” Suggs said, “So the great voter challenge was such that we, not one, issued the challenge to all Arizonans eligible, eligible citizens to register to vote, become informed, and vote.
While the numbers are rising as we head toward election season, Suggs said there is still more work to do, “Apathy and some frustration with citizens’ disgust, in some cases, current state of affairs, and sometimes people just want to throw their hands up and they give up. And they can’t. Because only the vote, the vote of the people will change the course of action, change leadership is necessary, at any given level. And make a difference.”
Although Arizona voter turnout was low Justice O’Connor is hopeful for Arizona’s future when it comes to civic responsibility.