Why I Vote
Several weeks ago I sat at a table registering voters at a youth summit. An 18-year old approached the table. When I urged him to register he asked me why he should register and vote? I looked at this child/ adult and was at a loss for words.
My usual platitudes about using your voice, supporting democracy, making change, getting issues addressed, felt hollow. I really wanted to say that candidates running for office would help him with a job, would insure a safer neighborhood and help with health insurance. I wanted to offer something concrete.
My interaction forced me to consider why I always voted, why I had been a deputy voting registrar for more than 20 years, why I cared about voter participation.
I at first thought of my friend Nomsa who proudly voted in 1994 for the first time on South Africa. I thought of Agim who voted for the first time in Albania after communism fell. I thought of the sacred right of all citizens to be part of their democracy. I thought of power in numbers.
But most of all I thought of women and children. I vote to support the candidate who will support domestic violence programs, day care, pay equity, good schools, health care for children. I vote for clean water and job training. I vote to change laws to ensure safety in neighborhoods. I vote to give voice to children and vulnerable women who need our help. This is my story.
Why do you vote?
I wish I could find that young man and tell him my story, about why I vote. Consider sharing your stories and your energy into efforts to get out the vote for the coming election.