One of our most fundamental and symbolic rights in a democracy is the ability to participate in fair elections. Not only is it a right but it is also our obligation. We can only achieve equity in our society if people participate in the process.
And yet voter turnout in the midterm elections of 2014 was abysmal. Just 36.3 percent of eligible voters cast votes — the worst turnout in 72 years, the New York Times reports. Only the 1942 election (33.9 percent) had a lower rate of voter turnout.
Many people use the excuse that their one vote doesn’t really make a difference or that they don’t like any of the candidates or that all politicians are the same. However, what if that right were taken away? What if tomorrow only white men could vote? That was the case not that long ago. Women weren’t given the right to vote in national elections until 1920 and black Americans only received the right in 1965.
And voter suppression has now become an issue that is disproportionately affecting minorities. In fact, 14 Million people have been kicked off of the voting rolls since 2017. That’s nearly 10% of all registered voters in the United States. According to an article published in Daily Kos, people of color, young voters, and the elderly are being disproportionately removed from the voter rolls at a record pace. Certain states have closed DMV offices in areas with a majority-minority population, restricted acceptable forms of I.D., and cut early and absentee voting. As if this is not damaging enough, we still have foreign meddling in our electoral system as well as a massive amount of misinformation being spread on social media.
Although it may seem improbable that our right to vote could be completely taken away, it doesn’t mean that it could not be slowly eroded over time. To achieve true parity for all people in our society, we have to make our voices heard and there is no better way to do that than by voting on November 6th. “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
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