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The Importance of Exercising Your Right to Vote

Election day — a day that should be fully taken advantage of as citizens of this nation. A day that puts our needs in the hands of particular people in government that can either benefit us, or do the total opposite. A day that not everyone once had the right to participate in, and because of that should be an exciting day for us all. Election day is another day designated for the beginning of more opportunities for all ages, races, ethnicities, gender and sexualities.

After last years’ election results, our country has not made the progress that many hoped for. If anything, we are starting to regress. Maybe not regress statistically quite yet, but definitely regress in the mindsets of most people. Currently, our president embodies personality traits that someone running the country should not run, impacting those working around him and people in this country that have similar views as them. Because of this, this election is so important. The governor’s race is every four years, along with seats for local offices in the city you reside in. Local government is what does the most for you as a citizen, making the progressions needed to federal government. It all starts here! The Virginia governor’s race has maintained fairly close throughout these months and it has been very concerning to me. The candidates for this race were Ralph Northam, Democrat, and Ed Gillespie, Republican. The two have very different policies that they have purposed and overall have very different beliefs.

Although I do normally vote democratic, that is not the main thing that sways my opinions. To me, a party is just a title, but it is the candidate’s beliefs and policies that convince me who I should vote for, as it should be. In modern day politics however, the bipartisan system takes over completely. For example, my father ran for Sheriff in my hometown city of Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, even positions such as sheriff have a party affiliated with them for voting purposes. When canvassing for him in past weekends, some people did not even want to take his literature if they knew he was a democrat. That was all they needed to know to decide whether they’d be voting for him or not. To me this was concerning and very frustrating. Yes, my dad has great polices and is fit for office, but how would people know that if they did not read about his background and ideas? This is a problem. The lack of education on those we put into office, just because of party affiliation, is why we have so much turmoil in government on any level. Now, while I know party can be important for those core values, I still think education is more important.

Now, with that being said – going back to the candidates previously mentioned in Virginia’s governor race, whomever you voted for along with those running for Lt. Gov. and attorney general, make sure you did your research. Know your stance, think about what will not only benefit you, but those surrounding you as well. Voting is your right and should be exercised properly, not pushed aside and definitely not abused. 

As Election Day came to a close, the democratic party swept the votes — winning governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general positions in Virginia and New Jersey. In addition, many state and federal seats were won by democrats and made history with LGBT representatives! Further ending my night on a positive note, my father, Michael A. Moore is Portsmouth, Virginia’s new Sheriff. 

                Photo taken by Sheryll Lundy, right when they found out about my dad’s victory

Photo credits: Cover Photo taken by Chanta Moore, 1 by Aja Moore

Aja is a Junior at VCU studying Political Science. She loves going to brunch, working out, healthy eating and is overly obessed with the Kardashians & her three dogs (Cooper, Bentley and Lulu). You can follow her on Instagram @ajaerinmo!
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