I know that for many Americans, it’s not easy or convenient to vote. You have to vote anyway.
I know that in many U.S. states, your right to vote is being suppressed on multiple fronts. You have to vote anyway.
I know many people believe their vote won’t matter–just one of the millions all going to the same candidate, or gerrymandered to irrelevance. But local races like school board, judges, and drain commissioner that directly impact your life are frequently decided by triple-, double-, or even single-digit margins. Your vote matters. Vote.
I know the representatives you’re voting for probably don’t represent you super well. The people at the top of your midterm ballot might not look like you, or understand what life is like for people like you. They might have come out proudly against something you’re for, or proudly for something you’re against. They might be on the wrong side of the issue you’re a one-issue voter about. That sucks, but the whole rest of the ballot still needs your vote.
I know many people feel betrayed by their elected officials. I know they have no faith in grandstanding or parlor games played at (and with) the highest levels of government. You not voting is how they keep getting away with it.
I know many people, especially those of marginalized populations, believe modern American electoral politics will never serve their interests. That voting can’t possibly bring about the systemic upheaval necessary to improve their lives. Or that they voted last time, and it didn’t fix much. I hear all that–but right now, voting is easily the most powerful lever you have to practically affect change.
I know some of you will read this post and say that I am the problem! That telling people who don’t vote that it’s their responsibility to vote will only make them madder, or something. But now, as much so as it’s ever been since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, your right to vote is use-it-or-lose it.
Your personal freedoms–speech, religion, love, marriage, family–are on the ballot. Your health care is on the ballot. Our public education is on the ballot. Government censorship of books and other media is on the ballot. Any hope we have of stopping venture capitalists’ domination of digital media is on the ballot. Meaningfully addressing climate change is on the ballot. Our right to vote, itself, is on the ballot.
Voting isn’t the end of the battle. You can’t just fill a bubble or punch a card or tap a screen and expect power to bow to you. Organizing, demonstrating, speaking out, amplifying the voices of the oppressed, participating in mutual aid, afflicting the powerful and comforting the afflicted will all still be necessary no matter the results of tomorrow’s election.
But it will all be a lot easier, and a lot more effective, if you all vote.
In case you don’t believe me, Brownstein very clearly and effectively outlines what will happen if the GOP takes the House and/or Senate: An attempt to nationalize the freedom-curtailing bills they’ve been introducing and passing in so-called red states:
In many states, your district (and polling place) has recently changed due to the re-drawing of electoral maps. Even if you think you know where to go, use this to double check!
For after you’ve voted: A handy guide to when us doomscrollers and refresh monkeys might get to be able to sleep.