Use Your Power

Progressive Pupil New Leader for Social Change Claudie Mabry Registers Voters


Today, too few of us will make our voices heard at ballot boxes throughout the United States.  The representatives chosen to speak and decide for us at local, state and national levels in these mid-term elections will have a great deal of power over many of the things that matter to us most: such as how our children are educated, whether we feel safe with police officers in the street, the conditions in which we work, and how much we are compensated for our work.  Voting is an important way we can use our power, but too many of us have been falsely convinced that we do not have any power at all. (Click here to find out about the voter identification laws in your state).

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  1. Velvet

     /  November 11, 2014

    I have always been conflicted with voting and the difference it makes in our system. I agree one vote cannot change everything, but an abundance of votes can. In the election of 2000 Bush vs Al Gore, these votes could have been the changing factor. Yes the electoral college decides our votes, but if they could have been swayed enough, the results could have been very different. So I agree with you when you say that an ‘our’ is more powerful than an ‘I.’

    As a past poll-worker I was surprised more people did not vote. The system in California is so lenient, that no identification is required (I see many problems with this, but that is besides the point). Polling places are all within a walking distance from everyone’s home, yet the numbers remain low. This oppression is caused from people thinking that one vote does not make a difference, which holds validity, but only gets them so far. Movements have been mobilized to gather the masses to vote, but with no luck. The only way to make this change is within people themselves. Not many seem to care about politics and that is where the real problem originates. Get people to care about politics, to care about their rights, to actually realize their repression and they will vote.


  2. Jessica N.

     /  November 16, 2014

    This recent Election Day was not the first time that I experienced a personal struggle between voting for a candidate I do not believe in, versus wasting this precious right and not voting at all. As we continue to unveil more and more corruption among our political leaders, it is imperative that we preserve and exercise the limited power we hold in our democratic system: the right to vote.

    Recently I have begun to recognize a silver lining to the consistently grim Election Day struggle. That is that the candidates whose campaigns have infiltrated our mailboxes, televisions, radios, neighborhood lampposts, etc. are not the only things on the ballot. There are some very noteworthy, grassroots campaigns which have found success by taking their issues directly to the public. Marijuana legalization and marriage equality are two major examples of successfully passing laws at the local level with a goal of national change.

    Organizers with the bipartisan group Represent.Us are using this same strategy to pass local anti-corruption laws to help protect us from political corruption. I have found a new sense of hope through the work and success of this anti-corruption movement. To learn more about this process and its significance, visit


  3. Derek

     /  November 20, 2014

    I am not one to be nostalgic but I do reference the great Americans who have campaigned and fought for my vote to be counted. Their abilities impacted my representation today. One person one vote is powerful especially when so many people were denied this right. I often think to my Grandmother’s stories of being denied in the South. Although an extremely intellectual and educated person, her voice as well as so many marginalized people’s votes were casted aside. This has impacted policy and every aspect of American culture today, starting with the signing and voting upon the United States Constitution.

    Mass incarceration limits the voting rights of many individuals today. This has negative implications that can be seen throughout communities in America today. Voting does matter. Once you are unable a vote that is when one is faced with their powerlessness. However, there is more to power than voting. Organizing and building community around like minded individuals is a step towards political consciousness. It is my hope that organizing will empower more people not only to vote but actively participate and contribute in the political and policy initiatives which are needed to enact real change.



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