By Tommi Vincent
Why does voting matter? It is an opportunity to allow your voice to ring throughout the nation. This year, for the 2018 midterm elections, our son Taron will have the opportunity to vote for the first time! That is a big deal. He will be traveling home from Ohio State University to participate in Virginia’s early voting, along with the myself, Troy Sr., Troy Jr., and Brenaya. Desiré and Deandre will vote in Michigan. I wish I could say that unequivocally we were all in agreement to vote. To be very honest our sons had to be convinced as to why their vote mattered. As they have watched politics play out, it has been hard for them to connect with government and the current state of dysfunction. While I could completely understand the frustration, I could not help but question whether Troy Sr. and I had properly demonstrated and conveyed why voting matters.
Democracy is a bedrock of the United States of America. That bedrock initially did not apply to all citizens, for that matter, not all people of this great nation were even considered citizens. Midterm elections are different from presidential elections. The midterm candidates are elected according to the actual number of people voting. This is contrary to the presidential election, which is determined by the electoral college. Even with that being said, every vote matters, and no one should sit on the sidelines, EVER. Not voting is an insult to all of the lives sacrificed, like Rev. George Lee of Belzoni, Mississippi. Rev. Lee used his pulpit and printing press to encourage voting. His life was in danger, and he was offered protection if he put a halt to his efforts to get African Americans to vote. Rev. Lee declined protection, and was murdered on May 7, 1955. Many like Rev. Lee worked to galvanize African Americans to vote, and move past their fear of being murdered. (Imagine that!) Over 63 years later we are still battling for voting rights and urging voters to exercise their rights.
The ballot box is where change happens. Legislation changes policy and laws that no doubt have the ability to change the lives of all people who call our country home. I am happy to report we had informative, empowering conversation with our sons and we are all voting. It is a must! VOTE — It is your right.
Please use the Voting Information Project link to get ballot information, polling locations, and transportation to the polls: www.votinginfoproject.org