Get out and vote on November 8, 2016! Here’s why:
1. Because your voice should be a part of the national conversation.
This year’s presidential election has been different, for lack of a better word. It’s no secret that the campaigns of the two major parties have exposed truths that many Americans previously ignored. Health care, economic stability, racial equality, and gender equality are major issues on my mind, but in reality they affect each of us. Find out where each candidate stands on the issues. Talk about their platforms with others who agree and disagree with you, think critically, and make an informed decision. That’s how you can influence the national conversation.
2. To influence change at the local level.
Fortunately, voting doesn’t end with the presidential race. A president’s power depends on the dominant party in the House or Senate. In case you didn’t know, roughly, 27 Congressional seats are complete toss-ups. The individuals who fill those seats will bear significant influence come January 2017. Also, #LocalElectionsMatter! The majority of laws, policies, and issues that directly influence your day-to-day life come from local government, up to and including reproductive rights, education initiatives, and anti-discrimination laws.
3. To honor those who came before you.
The right to vote has not always been available to all Americans. In 1776, after the Declaration of Independence had been signed, the right to vote was reserved for white, property-owning, Protestant men. By law, Native Americans, women, black people, and poor whites were not allowed to vote in presidential, state, or local elections. Even after the Fifteenth Amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment, and the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, people of color and women still had a very difficult time casting their votes due to discriminatory registration laws and inconvenient polling place procedures. Make sure you are familiar with the history of voting rights in this country before choosing not to vote or bashing candidates. Not voting is like letting the people who said you couldn’t vote win. Do your part!
4. For the experience.
You won’t know what something is like unless you do it yourself. Going to vote is a rite of passage, that all Americans should experience. The process of venturing to your polling place, standing in line, checking in, filling out the ballot, and being a part of history is your constitutional privilege, so exercise it!
5. Because if you don’t vote for what you care about, who will do it for you?
Voting is personal. You are not obligated to tell anyone who you supported or why you supported them, it’s your choice. Some issues may be closer to your heart than others, and that’s your business. If you really care about a particular issue, it’s up to you to take a stance. You wouldn’t let someone else choose where you live or what kind of car you drive? Truth is, no one but you can cast a vote for you.
…And here are some helpful tools for voters:
- Access state voting registration deadlines
- Register or find out if you are registered to vote
- Find your polling place