Vote! Because You Can
This article may very well be the last one you see from me before you vote on Election Day. Therefore, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting out and voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6. If you are not convinced already, I implore you to vote (especially this year)…
1. Because it is your civic responsibility. It is your duty and your right, as an American citizen, to vote. Exercise that right, and exercise it proudly.
2. Because you want to make your voice, your issues known. If you care at all about polarizing issues, such as the protection of the environment, health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, women’s reproductive rights, access to and restrictions on gun ownership and regulation, funding for education and critical services, humane treatment for undocumented immigrants, or net neutrality, you need to vote this year.
3. Because you want politicians that will, in turn, vote for your issues. These issues (and many, many more) I discussed above are hot topics right now—issues that will likely be voted upon, whether we like it or not. So, it is up to us to ensure that our representatives’ votes at the local, state, and federal level will align with the wishes of their constituents (us). And the only way to guarantee that outcome is to vote for politicians that share your ideals and hopes for the future.
4. Because you want better, more equitable representation. Perhaps you want to see more women in office, or people of color… Perhaps you’d like to see a more equitable spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identities represented in government… Perhaps you want more democrats or third party candidates in office… Regardless of your hope or motivation, it is up to you to vote for the candidates that will represent you best and will continue to work to best represent you and your identity.
5. Because you want your party to have a stronger chance and more legitimacy in the next election. Whether you vote for a Democrat, Republican, or third party candidate, you are not wasting your vote. Voter turnout means increased recognition and credibility in the long run. In other words, on Nov. 7, we will see just how many passionate Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and others turned out to cast their vote the previous day, and, accordingly, and so will our representatives. If we make our voices known, the elected representatives will have no choice but to pay attention for the next two years, adhering to our wishes or they will risk not being re-elected!
6. Because you want to ensure a proper and adequate system of checks and balances is in place to safeguard our nation against partisan politics rolling out of the White House. Look, many of us are scared right now, and rightfully so. But our Constitution has a system of checks and balances in place in case of times like these. So if you’re scared, you can (and should) use your vote to elect members of a national Congress and Senate that will work to counter the President’s wildest plans and most unconstitutional and unprecedented actions.
7. Because you don’t want to see a repeat of 2016. Or maybe you do… I don’t know your life!
8. Because you want to affect lasting change. Like every election year before, this year represents an opportunity to enact real and lasting change in our communities, states, and in our country! And that’s a really cool thing to be a part of!
9. Because only the cool kids vote. This is the one instance in which I think peer pressure is entirely warranted. So pressure your friends. Pressure your family. Pressure the cashiers at the grocery store and the people in the drive-thru at McDonalds. Get them to join you at the polls, because this election is so important!
10. Because every single vote counts. This is especially true in local and state races, where elections are frequently won by a mere handful of votes.
11. Because you refuse to be silenced or lulled into a false sense of security by polls, predictions, or even the elusive “Blue Wave.” We cannot count on these predictive measures, because we’ve seen them be proven wrong too many times before—often with catastrophic consequences. The only way to secure your intended outcome of this election is to cast your ballot in favor of your supported candidates.
12. Because you get a sticker…and really, who doesn’t love stickers?
13. Because you can. Vote because you are lucky enough to live in a democracy. Vote because hundreds of thousands of brave men and women have fought (and sacrificed their lives) to protect your right to vote and your right to this American democracy. Vote because “democracy is not a spectator sport” and it only works if you play your part by voting. Finally, know your rights.
Know how and where to vote on Nov. 6. Right now, we are inundated daily by news of voter suppression and intimidation. So, I encourage you to do your homework.
Check out websites like www.usa.gov/how-to-vote for a basic run-down of how to ensure that your vote counts, or check in with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at http://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-faced-voter-intimidation for a run-through of your legal rights at the polls. If you have any other questions about specifically how to vote in Illinois, there is a wonderful video on YouTube called “How to Vote in Illinois in 2018” that also offers a variety of other informational links. Most importantly, remember that even if you missed the registration deadline, you can still register at a “Grace Period Registration Location” to vote on Election Day in Illinois!
Vote! Because You Can