These days, fall 2020, if you take a walk around downtown Boston, you’ll see that every store, café or restaurant has a poster, sticker, or an entire booklet with the word “vote” on it. When it comes close to an election those of us who understand the importance of voting try to spread the word and make sure those who didn’t think about voting will change their mind and do so.
But why voting is important?
Let’s look at the history of the United States.
Right now, American citizens over the age of 18 can vote in state and federal elections, but it wasn’t always like this. Up until the 20th century disenfranchised groups of people, including women, formerly enslaved peoples, people of color, and others, were excluded from voting. It took a long time for the United States to reach the point where almost every citizen is eligible to vote. Having such an opportunity now, why not make your voice heard? Many of us might think that one vote isn’t important, but think about it this way: if you take 1 cent out of a dollar is it still a dollar? One percent out of a hundred means a lot.
In 1988 in the Massachusetts Governor’s Council Democratic Primary Election, Herbert Connolly lost to Robert Kennedy by just one vote. And that vote was his own. Connolly wasn’t able to drop off his ballot due to him arriving late to the polls. In 2002 Kevin Entze, a police officer from Washington state, lost to Ed Mitchell in the GOP primary by one vote out of 11,700. Later on, Entze found out that one of his coworkers left their ballot on the kitchen counter and never happened to mail it. That one missing vote caused Entze a loss in the election.
Every two years between the year 2010 and 2016 in the election for Vermont House of representatives, the race between David Ainsworth and Sarah Buxton, the final results depended on just a small number of votes, in some cases just a few. In 2010 Buxton won with 882 votes against 881 for Ainsworth. In 2012 she won again with 1,113 vs. 917 for Ainsworth. In 2014, 743 votes were cast for Buxton and 677 for Ainsworth. Lastly in 2016 Ainsworth won with the difference of just two votes; 1,005 against 1,003 for Buxton.
These are great examples of why every vote, including yours, matters.
Suffolk University is a place where everyone is proud to participate in voting. They also encourage all students and employees to vote. During the fall semester of 2020 an activist group known as “Suffolk Votes” has been running social media accounts to interact with students and spread information about everything related to the upcoming election. Suffolk Votes’ ambassadors, who are mostly students with an active interest in politics, are doing class raps. During those raps they’re helping students to register to vote online. Suffolk University is proud of the increasing number of students who are willing to use their constitutional rights to participate in the voting prosses. During the 2016 General election 83% of Suffolk students were registered to vote and 67% of them voted, which helped the university to earn a silver seal student voting rate from the All-in Campus Democracy Challenge.
Voting is our civil right and duty. Making your voice heard affects not only your own life and future but also your community’s. Please be sure to exercise your right to vote this November or sooner. Take advantage of the opportunity so many people in the United States fought for, demanded, and have guaranteed to you now.
Everything You Need to Vote. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from https://www.vote.org/
Montanaro, D. (2018, November 03). Why Every Vote Matters – The Elections Decided By A Single Vote (Or A Little More). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2018/11/03/663709392/why-every-vote-matters-the-elections-decided-by-a-single-vote-or-a-little-more
National Geographic Society. (2020, March 17). Why Voting Is Important. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/why-voting-important/
Sarah Buxton. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from https://ballotpedia.org/Sarah_Buxton
Suffolk Votes. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from https://www.suffolk.edu/student-life/student-involvement/community-public-service/suffolk-votes