You’ve Gotta Exercise it

2020 is the first time so many different organizations from different aspects of American life have gotten together and made a concerted effort to encourage people to vote. Many would argue it’s because of the current President. The US has continually had very low voter participation the last few decades. Some states and towns are more active than others, of course, but as a whole tens of millions simply do not exercise their right to vote.

There are a litany of reasons for this I won’t go into. It’s gotten to the point that simply encouraging citizens to participate in the election of their officials is an exercise in partisanship. I could volunteer for a nonprofit that helps people get registered to vote (and doesn’t tell them who they should vote for) and somehow it’s a statement against this person or that one.

In Harris County, TX there are nearly 5 million people. I was looking into a candidate recently before going to the polls and I checked up on their electoral history. They’d won a previous race with 16k votes. There are more than 2 million registered voters in the county. Those 16k people hardly would be considered representative of the 2 million voters or 5 million residents, but they voted and wielded great power.

We could go town to town and see similar situations play out every election year. It’s none of my business who you vote for or why. Maybe you’ve already mailed in your ballot or you’re making a plan to go in person, the how is up to you. Democracy doesn’t work when everyone stays home.

In the midst of a pandemic it’s understandable that many are still hesitant to go out in public unnecessarily. I’m 28 and for seven months I’ve stayed home as much as possible. In Texas I’m not given the ability to vote by mail. So I’ll be voting early, right around the time this goes live.

If you’re in the US make a plan to vote. Know the hours of your voting location or mail in your ballot as soon as you can. There are countless nonpartisan websites that will help you get to know local candidates if they’re unknown to you.