Sometimes I have trouble finding my voice as a writer–until something really bothers me. It is then, in the midst of frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, disbelief, shock…that words flow almost effortlessly from my pen to paper. Writing is one way I use my voice. Voting is another.
You may have heard that there’s an election coming up in the United States. (And if you haven’t heard, where have you been? I may want to go there some day!) It’s tempting to think our vote doesn’t count, but I know from experience that’s not true. I have witnessed a mayor’s race in a medium-sized city be decided by only 11 votes. Some races have ended in a tie, causing candidates to draw straws or roll a die to determine the winner. Anyone else remember those close Bush v. Gore hanging chad results that had to be resolved by the Supreme Court? Our democracy requires “we the people” to have a voice in deciding who represent our interests. We have a voice in determining what kind of nation America will be through our elected representatives. Our vote is that voice.
The voter registration deadline has already passed in many states (including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas), and will close tomorrow in a few others (New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma). Depending on where you live, it may not be too late to register. In most cases it can be done online. Visit vote.org for a state-by-state directory of deadlines and requirements. The clock is ticking, so don’t wait.
The only time your vote doesn’t count is when you don’t cast it. And you can’t cast it if you aren’t registered.