I have a lot of feelings about voting. I love it. A lot. Voting is the activity that consistently inspires me to write, no matter what else is going on, no matter if I worked 16 hours yesterday, no matter that I’m trying to create content for other venues. I write about voting because it’s important.
This post may be similar to every other post I’ve written in the last two years about voting. I’m not going back to compare, but don’t be shocked if my feelings and reasons are the same as I’ve written in the past.
This is the first presidential election for which I’ve voted in person. Last time I sent my ballot in the mail. Satisfactory, but there’s no sticker that comes with an absentee ballot. I got to wear my sticker all day today, which was exciting.
I vote for many reasons. One, I like it and it’s fun. Two, I like wearing an I voted sticker. Three, I like people watching at the polls. Four, I enjoy doing my civic duty. Those are good reasons, but they’re really not the most important.
I vote because barely 92 years ago, I couldn’t have. It hasn’t even been 100 years that women in America have been allowed to vote. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I don’t live in an America where I couldn’t vote just because I am a woman.
I vote because I’ve been in the driveway where Medgar Evers was shot in Mississippi, where he was murdered because of his work in the civil rights movement and voter registration. We all know that soldiers have fought around the world to preserve our freedoms, and I am so thankful. But I want us to remember those, like Medgar Evers, that died here, in the name of voting and civil rights. Stories like Medgar’s, moments like standing in that driveway, must mean something. I stubbornly vote because I don’t want to forget these stories.
I vote because I believe it matters.
I love voting.
This time last year I wrote about voting. Because I voted.
Many things I voted about did not go the way I voted. Silly propositions about sharia law and voting identification passed, despite my no votes. When I voted today, I encountered the consequence of the latter new law.
I had to present my driver’s license or voter registration card. Despite my love of voting, I’m really not sure where that card is. So, my license I begrudgingly displayed. I was informed that my license was set to expire in April and to make sure that it was up to date if I wanted to vote in the next election, because your driver’s license must not be expired in order to vote.
Really? Really? Because my license expires, I cease to be who I am? I don’t think so. It had always been my understanding that the expiration had more to do with keeping track of drivers rather than proving that I still am who I was four years previously. I don’t even need a birth certificate to get renewed! So what does my driver’s license expiration date have to do with my right to vote? Nothing. But because people vote with their fear (or hope of stifling others’ voices?), these nonsense rules about license’s and expiration dates apply.
Voting is a right. Not a privilege. Men have died so that I could vote, both on the battlefield and on places like a driveway in Jackson, Mississippi. My vote isn’t being infringed. No one is questioning my right to vote. But they’re making it annoying. And laying the ground for the possibility that someday I might have to use a provisional ballet just because my license might have the wrong date on it. This is nothing compared to some of the obstacles we’ve put in front of people in the past. But I don’t think it’s right.
I am against impediments towards voting. It seems reasonable to require an ID to vote, to prove who you are. But it’s just another way to keep people away from voting. And in a country where voter turnout is consistently low, it still just seems like a plot to weed out some people from voting by making it more difficult.
The polling ladies told me I was one of the only people they’d seen at my polling place under the age of 50. And I went at 4:30 PM.
On the plus side, all the things on the ballot went the way I voted. So that’s something.
One vote. I have it. I use it. I hope I use it to help others use their votes.