Round Table: Why Are You Voting?

 

Her Campus at Geneseo shares our reasons why we’re voting this election.

 

Lily Connerton

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson writes that governments derive power from the “consent of the governed.” This means choosing not to participate in an election is consenting to be governed by the elected officials just as much as participating. I am voting in this election because I view it as my responsibility as a citizen of the United States. I think that having a government that represents its people is of the utmost importance. In theory, the higher percentage of eligible citizens that vote, the more representative our government will be. This election comes at a time when there are many unknowns for the future of our nation, and the outcome will affect the path history precedes down. If you have the ability to impact your future, why would you choose to stand idle? 

 

Jess Kaplan

When Sen. Bernie Sanders was running for mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, it was a margin of 10 votes that made the difference. If 10 people had decided that day that they were too busy to make it to the polls, had decided to leave voting lines early, or had decided that they simply didn’t care enough at all, Sanders might never have been elected to public office. Ten people made that happen. And because Sanders was elected, he has changed the lives of millions of people, moving items like free two or four year college tuition at public institutions, massive income inequality, free healthcare, etc. into the mainstream rather than remaining on the frays of policy agenda. This is the difference that 10 votes, and your vote, makes. It’s not just the candidates that are on the ballot; it’s the issues you care about, whatever they may be. If you care about salvaging our climate, women’s rights, racial issues, LGBTQ+ issues, access to healthcare, or a free education for everyone regardless of income or wealth, these are things you can fight for simply by voting. Whether you live in a swing state or not, your vote is your voice. It was a little over 100 years ago that the 19th Amendment was passed, and even then only white women were granted the right to vote. Your vote is a mark of the progress society has made for those who fought for this right. So, cast that vote, go get a sticker and exercise what is yours because you can. 

 

Emily Tsoi

This election is one of the most critical elections in our nation’s history, and it comes at a time of multiple crises occurring at once. From racial injustice to the impact and handling of COVID-19 to the recent Supreme Court addition of Amy Coney Barrett, the last several months perfectly encapsulate the reasons why things need to change in order to make this country better for everyone who lives here. For that to happen, we need people in office who actually care and want to see this come into fruition. This election, I am voting not only to exercise my right to participate in democracy, but to voice that as a country we can do and be better. By going out there and voting, you demonstrate that your voice matters and that this democracy belongs just as much to you as it does anyone else. 

 

Margaux Carmel

I have voted in every election, no matter how big or small, since I turned 18 and gained that right (for reference, I’m now 20). I think my passion for voting kicked into overdrive when I was 16 and was unable to vote in the 2016 presidential election. As a person within the LGBTQ+ community, and as a person assigned female at birth with female reproductive capabilities, I have been extremely impacted by the decisions made by a president that I wasn’t allowed to vote against yet. This year, I have the chance to cast a vote against the oppressive person that I wasn’t able to cast four years ago. My vote is a vote for my rights as a queer person, as a female-bodied person, and for the rights of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color. 

 

Rebecca Williamson

I’m voting because I have a voice and my vote should matter. While white women were given the right to vote just over 100 years ago, it took even longer for women of color and other minorities to exercise that same right. I can’t erase history, but I can certainly help change it. My vote is my voice. It is everyone’s right and responsibility to vote as a citizen, especially if you care about this country and the rights of all people who live here. You all have a voice. You all have opinions. Go out, vote and let your voice be heard.

 

Mia Serritella

I’m voting because I’m so tired. So, so, so tired. So tired of living within the walls of my apartment because of a preventable pandemic, tired of seeing a horrible man say horrid things, tired of feeling like we’re regressing rather than progressing. The general feelings of hopelessness and pure rage are eating me alive, as are those that support the current Idiot in Chief. I no longer have the patience or tolerance as I am simply too tired. Not too tired, however, to put a silly little pen to a silly little piece of paper and try to do something about it. As should you. 

 

Nicole Callahan

I’m voting in spite of myself and the system that surrounds me. The issues of this nation are too vast and complicated to resolve in one election, but I still vote. I’m very disenchanted with the political process, but I still vote. I try to be active politically in other ways that I think will matter more, but I still vote. The realities of voter suppression in this country are staggering, from the big things like the disproportionate imprisonment of Black people and other minorities to closing polling places to refusing to make Election Day a federal holiday. The obstacles related to race and class that keep people from having an equal voice in our elections are real and troubling. Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have shown very little interest in solving the problems that make voting hard, or adopting a better system than the two-party one we have, or moving away from first past the post voting so that people can be at liberty to support the candidates they actually like. And let’s be clear—that’s likely because they don’t really want to. But I vote. I vote because plenty of people who should be able to can’t. I vote, but I can’t and will not stop there. I want Joe Biden to be president, but if he gets elected, I and everyone else who voted for him must press him to be worth the vote we gave him. The ballot is the least we can do. 

 

Kristine Pereira

I vote because it is our civic duty. I vote because I don’t take my rights for granted. As soon as we do, we risk losing them. I vote because voting brings change. And things need to change. We are all in this together. I hope you will do your part.  

 

Please, go vote. You still have time.