by Cash Rion
With the midterm elections ending and the votes being counted, many people are breathing sighs of relief that it’s over for the time being. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with the 24 hour news cycle and be informed about political candidates, I understand that. We see races that come down to choosing the lesser of two evils, and it feels like our vote doesn’t count. Why spend all this energy trying to be informed if it feels like we can’t make a difference?
But voting is so incredibly important; the smaller the election, the more power your vote has! While national elections are determined by tens of thousands of votes, local elections sometimes determine the winner by single votes. The smaller the election, the smaller the voting population, and the more control you have over the issues.
Voter suppression efforts are alive and in full swing across the country. Use your vote for the disenfranchised; use your voting privilege to make things better. Republicans are so terrified of marginalized people voting that they are doing anything they can to silence their vote. If voting doesn’t matter, why are they trying so hard to stop it? It’s because Republicans know what we can accomplish with our hard-won voting rights. From gerrymandering to flat-out election denial and Jan. 6, Republicans are trying to call into question the validity of the electoral process.
Voting is one of the most effective ways of making the views of the masses heard by those in power. By voting, you respect history and the sacrifices made by those who came before you, as well as activists today who continue to fight. If you believe ACAB, vote! Felons are another group who can’t vote, and a big reason for a lack of prison reform is that those who have experienced the issues are often banned from voting to change it.
Being informed is hard. Looking at four page ballots of names of people you’ve likely never heard of, for positions you don’t understand is daunting. But you don’t have to do it alone! Get your friends, roommates, family together and make an event out of it! Get snacks and some drinks for that salty and sugary brain energy. A word of advice? Always have a copper camel when you vote, but never have more than one copper camel when you vote! (Don’t know what that is? It’s a drink that can make voting more fun!)
Split up the ballot: each person takes some names to research so as to not get overwhelmed, and the cheery atmosphere makes it not feel like a chore! Who knows, maybe you’ll find some particularly funny tidbits about candidates – my roommates and I discovered that one of the candidates on this past ballot has some choice poetry online! I think more candidates should write poetry, no matter how good or bad it is.