It’s time for me to fess up to a shameful secret I’ve been keeping for the past four years. I did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. Ugh, just writing those words makes me feel retroactive guilt. At the time, I had what I considered valid reasons:
- I didn’t particularly care for the options.
- I didn’t feel I knew enough about the issues to make informed decisions.
- I didn’t believe my one vote would really matter in the grand scheme of things.
- I simply didn’t want to be inconvenienced.
- I’m not really into politics.
Friends, let me tell you that NONE of the above are actual reasons to waste your right to vote.
They are feeble and lazy excuses that I can (and will) now easily refute:
- Are you ever going to agree with someone 100%? Likely not, but this is a poor defense for not voting, and quite frankly, sounds like an argument my 4-year-old would make. You can find a candidate who aligns with a majority of what you hold important. If you’re not even sure where to start, and believe me, I wasn’t, then I recommend visiting this site. You’ll want to have some time on your hands to take a rather extensive quiz that surveys you on political issues and helps picks the presidential candidate that is right for you.
- In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason to be uninformed. Most of us walk around with hand-held encyclopedias! As someone who prefers tacky reality television over CNN, I know how intimidating “the issues” can be. Luckily, the Internet can be an excellent educator. You can look at a sample ballot simply by typing in your address here. The ballot will contain all candidate options and where they stand on domestic and social issues, foreign policy, national security, and the economy.
- My 2016 “my one vote doesn’t matter” mindset is so embarrassingly ignorant. What if everyone thought this way? Ladies, think about the good fight our female ancestors fought for us. Thanks to high school history classes, most of us are at least semi-versed with women’s suffrage and the ratification of the 19thamendment in 1920. But what is often overlooked is the fact that the 19th amendment did not apply to black, Asian American, Latina, and American Indian women. These trailblazing women continued the fight to use their voices until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which banned racial discrimination in voting. These women knew the importance of their voices and demanded to be heard. How dare we waste the opportunity they have afforded us? Just as their votes mattered, so do ours.
- Can it be a slight inconvenience to wait in a long line at a poll? Yes, but I’m pretty sure that is the definition of a first world problem. In today’s Covid world, there are many different ways to vote. You can vote by absentee ballot (Oct 6 –Nov 2), early in-person (Oct 6 – Nov 2), or on Election Day at the polls. You have OPTIONS, so there should be zero excuses! To read more about the choices, click here.
- You don’t have to be “into politics” to know what is important to you. What do you value? What do you want the future to look like? What kind of world do you want for your children, for their children? The stakes are high, with some calling this the most important election of our lifetime. Whatever your personal opinions are, it’s important for all Americans to use our voices to advocate for the kind of future we want.
I will not repeat my mistake of 2016. This year, I will exercise my right to vote, and I invite all of you to do the same. When you know better, you do better. And this year, I intend to do much better.