One Vote

Civil rights activist Gracie Hawthorne played an important role in voter registration canvassing during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Voter apathy and disillusionment may be on the rise among low-income communities and communities of color. The economic recovery has been particularly harsh on communities of color and the 14.1% unemployment rate for Black Americans is nearly double that of white Americans. Some voters don’t have a strong opinion about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, arguing that neither candidate is pursuing issues that matter most to their community. Furthermore, political impasse and infighting, coupled with an influx of negative political ads, leave these voters with an impression that there is little hope for progress in the future.

The Democratic and Republican Party candidates are promoting very different platforms. Today we are faced with a choice between at least two distinct visions. History has taught us that every vote is important. Election Day is an important opportunity to shift the balance from the wealthy donors that sponsored the campaigns back to us, the people who work to ensure the interests of these communities are not left behind. Most polls open today at 7 AM and close at 7 PM – but it is important to look it up, since the times can change depending on county. Don’t know where to go to cast your ballot? Vote411 can help.

It is critical that everybody votes today – both to make sure that our voices are heard and to honor the people throughout history who struggled to give us that right.

by Jessica Graham

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6 Comments

  1. Jasmine

     /  November 8, 2012

    Now that the elections are over and nearly all the votes have been tallied and broken down by nearly every demographic you can think of, there shows that although the opinion may have been slightly apathetic and in the face of mounting obstacles in the form of last minute discriminatory voter laws in some counties, there was still an increase in the actual voter show out amongst all people of color: blacks, Asian, Latinos etc and further breaking down the categories even more (ie Latinos=Mexican, puerto rican, Cuban, etc). This speaks not only to determination, despite disillusionment and real obstacles, to the small sliver of hope that the choice made for Barack Obama and others in the Democratic party was still the best choice, especially against the Republicans’ dependence on the White vote (thus the aim of their policies going for this demographic). I believe with the increased diversity the US is seeing, especially amongst the voters in this most recent presidential election, it is not beyond hope that most minorities have woken up to the power of their voice, their votes and the importance of protecting and fighting for their civil liberties and this will perhaps provide momentum for continuing to fight for more equitable policies.

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  2. Courtney S

     /  November 9, 2012

    I’m really glad this post is encouraging people to vote. I feel like too often the idea that our votes don’t matter is being pushed in communities of color and the outcome of this years election is a clear indicator of how false that notion is. Our President was elected largely because of the voice of communities of color, and that says alot about the power that historically marginalized communities hold. While I believe we all realize that things in our country need to change, I am strongly aganist the discouragement of voting. I personally feel that revolution and change take A LOT of time, and if we (as people of color) abandon the system or allow a feeling of disillusion to stop us from participating in the current system, then we can not push for the changes that need to take place to improve our conditions. I hope that the outcome of this election, gives us a the sense of pride and achievement we need to participate when it comes time to elect other government officials such as congressman, senators, etc. so that the legistlative reforms and policies needed for marginalized communities to do better, will be a priority for those decision makers in Washington who’s voices are suppose to be representive of us.

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  3. Steffany Ballas

     /  November 29, 2012

    Thank you so much for this article, and the encouragement to vote. Too often, as stated, people are discouraged about voting and don’t believe it makes a difference, which I hope the results of this election disproves for many! The most worrying trend for me is the amount of discriminatory voting laws that surfaced right before the election. Those types of laws, if allowed to pass, can have long-lasting effects on votes, voter turnout, and how people, especially marginalized communities, feel about voting. While I am heartened to read about positive voter turnouts and the demographics of this recent election, the fight is not over! Keeping people engaged, encouraging voting in local elections, and fighting restrictive voter laws is something we must keep working for every day.

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  4. Caroline L.

     /  December 5, 2012

    I am sad to just be discovering this now, but I wanted to say that it is great to hear someone out informing the people about the importance of one vote. Again and again I hear, particularly from young people, that our vote does not matter. This perception is based usually on the premise that the electoral college is all that matters. While I too have a problem with the current way in which we choose our Chief Executive, it is important to remember that the votes at the local level are what truly matter and the electoral college has no part in those races. Time and again we are reminded of how powerful grassroots movements are and the most important grassroots movement is the one we participate in every election day.

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  5. Michaela Holmes

     /  December 5, 2012

    People came out to participate on election day. How will we show up in the next 4 years? Voting is one way of engaging in our system, but I think we can all agree is not enough. By subscribing to the importance of one vote, without the qualifier of continued participation, it is suggested that change does not come from us, but from political elites. Merely casting our vote does not guarantee adequate attention will be paid to the issues we find most pressing. Having acknowledged that “neither candidate is pursuing issues that matter most” is a sign that more must be done in order to direct attention to those issues, which requires endurance and participation that surpasses voting day. Take a moment and pat yourself on the back if it makes you feel better, but the struggle continues.

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  6. Lauren H.

     /  December 9, 2012

    I think this is an important message to be broadcast not only around the time of the presidential election, but around the local elections as well. It seems that every other month a new scandal comes out of the wood work. A senator did this, a congressman did that. Voter apathy is a bigger issue then just who will be president of the United States. It’s also important to know whose passing legislation right here in your own city. It needs to be said each and every election that every vote counts. It is so important to remember that local elections play just as big a role in our everyday life as the president does.

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