As I sit down to write this, we are exactly one week away from the election. Early voting has started in nearly every state and more than 60 million people from all walks of life have cast their ballots.
Nonetheless some people still undecided, unsuccessfully searching for reasons why they should vote, if they haven’t given up on voting all together.
In 2016 about 100 million eligible voters stayed home and close to 2 million of those who marched to the polls voted only “down-ballot” and did not vote in the presidential race.
As I pondered writing this piece, I thought of who I would want to hear from, and I realized they split into two groups: those young people not yet eligible to vote, who represent the largest and most diverse voting bloc in the U.S; and health care workers, who have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 battle. The pandemic is likely to be the deciding issue of this election.
So, if you’re reading this in quest of a reason to vote, look no further.
I first reached out to Mariem Dia, a 14-year-old high school freshman. I asked her why should adults vote and what their votes could mean to her generation.
“I beg all who are able to vote to do so!” Mariem said. “Voting is the only way you can have a voice in politics. You can sit and argue for hours about what politicians say or what they do. But at the end of the day none of what you say will matter if you don’t vote. Your vote will determine what school will look like for me and many other students. It will define what life will look like over the next four years. It will determine our environment.
“People’s lives depend on your vote. By not voting, you’re allowing society’s voice to be silenced. Your vote is your voice so use it!”
I think this provides reason enough for all to vote, but just in case you’re not convinced yet, I also reached out to my good friend and host of the podcast Sour Banter, Adetilewa. My question to Ade was simple, why should young people and immigrants vote? As if she has been wondering about this on her own, she quickly responded.
“It is of the utmost importance for the youth and immigrants to go out and vote because as youths we are the future of America and we must vote for who believes in our vision and as immigrants we are building for our families and we must vote for who believes in our values. “
Are you still undecided, still haven’t found a why?
No panic, Pascale will get you there! Pascale Adou is a healthcare organizer who worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years. Talking to Pascale, I was interested in what this election could mean for health care workers. It wasn’t surprising that she told me:
“There’s so much at stake in this election as healthcare workers put their lives on the line every day. We need to elect leaders who will stand with working people, and who will fight for better protections on the job. We need to elect leaders who will expand access to affordable healthcare for working families and their loved ones.
‘No matter where you come from or how much money you have, everyone should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. And healthcare jobs should be good union jobs. We must do everything in our power to protect the voices of working people and vote this November 3rd.”
If by now you haven’t found a reason to vote, I hope you have at least found a reason to get off the sidelines, to get involved. Find a reason to vote or create that reason.
Everyone one of us is inspired by something. Find what that is for you, then speak up to promote it, stand up to defend it and show up to the polls to vote for it!