Why I Vote

You’ve seen it all over social media, even from unlikely sources - the midterms are coming. Midterm elections usually don’t get this much attention, but after the 2016 presidential election, a lot of passive voters or people who previously didn’t pay much attention to politics woke up. The 2018 midterm elections are crucial for many House, Senate and Governor races and there is a potential for Democrats to take back the House, therefore adding a little balance (in my opinion) to a heavily Republican Washington D.C.

Learn more about the 2018 midterms and the battleground races in your state at VoteSaveAmerica. I want everyone to be registered and informed, but I’m not going to tell you how to vote - I want to tell you why I vote. [disclaimer: I’m a liberal voter, and this post will reflect that.]

I was excited to vote for years before I could register. My grandmother volunteered for our local Democratic party often and when Obama ran the first time, she gave me a huge button that I proudly wore to middle school. I still have my Obama ‘08 button on the corkboard by my desk as I write this. During the Obama presidency, I began to learn the specifics of current American politics and how different parties often decide on different issues. In high school, I took government class, which filled in the blanks left by American history classes. I also took an elective called Contemporary Issues, where we discussed pivotal social issues like the death penalty and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as the 2012 election, which was that semester.

I was so bummed I never got to vote for Obama. But the first week of college, I registered to vote with excitement, knowing that I now had a privilege that made me an adult in our country. I cast my first vote for president for a woman, and even though she didn’t win, that’s still pretty cool. Would’ve been cooler if she’d won, but I digress.

I vote because I care about the state of our country. I believe in equal rights for all Americans, protecting our planet, not letting the richest 1% of our country accumulate more money while the poor get poorer, LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive freedom for women, workers’ rights, access to healthcare and more. My history classes taught me that people fought for many rights we currently possess and without determined Americans, I wouldn’t even be able to vote. Once I learned in middle that school that women were not always allowed to vote, I got fired up. From a young age, I didn’t like being told what I couldn’t do.

Generations before me fought to register and inspire voters of all ages and walks of life, from suffragettes who wanted the vote, to young people desperate to stop a senseless war, to people of color fighting for the equality we still deny them under many laws in the USA. Everything valuable is worth fighting for and that includes the right to vote.

I vote because there are many Americans who don’t have this privilege, which is supposed to be a right for all citizens. Voter suppression is rampant in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and more states right now, and it could drastically change the results of the midterm elections. (This is a bipartisan issue - which again, I won’t go far into in this post. But I highly suggest you research it, especially when it comes to people of color and felons who have served time for minor offenses.)

I vote because I am part of a few groups our current government deems as inferior - women and the LGBTQ+ community. I vote for my trans community members who deserve so much better than they’re getting right now. I vote because I want our country to progress and change for the better. I vote because I want to see more young people and minorities in office. I vote because I want this country to be a safe, thriving place for my future children to grow up in.

I vote because my voice matters. I believe in the power of the people (and the polls!), and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. The idea that one person’s vote doesn’t matter is wrong - every voice, every vote, matters.

[featured photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash]