Today I did one of the most important things I will do this year: I voted.
It’s a privilege to have a voice in deciding the future of our country. Like all rights, it’s also a responsibility. The right to vote was not won without a fight – whether it was the break-away from the British crown or the struggles that finally allowed non-whites and women to vote as well. Even today, my vote for president won’t influence the election, because I don’t live in a swing state. It’s quite possible that the candidate who I consider most qualified to lead the country wins the majority of the vote, yet loses the presidential contest. (Thank the Electoral College for that.)
And yet my vote is important. This election will likely be very close. If one party or another claims fraud based on perceived irregularities in one swing state or another, the popular vote conveys legitimacy to the candidate who won the most votes, regardless of where they were cast. As we worry about unrest and violence in the event of a contested election, the best way to prevent it is to make sure one candidate wins by a large margin that leaves no room for doubt.
The local races have their own importance – whether it’s the fight over banning plastic bags (which made it on the ballot here in Washington State disguised as a referendum over a ‘tax increase’) or voting for state leaders who will take us forward as we face the challenges of Covid-19, climate change and racial justice.
That is why I implore you: Vote! I don’t care which party and candidate you favor – I firmly believe that the one with the most votes should win. If you live in a swing state, your vote might actually determine the outcome of the election. If you don’t, it’s still extremely important to convey legitimacy and show that you care.
Because once the election is over, we’ll need to work on making the system more democratic. For the first time, there seems to be momentum gathering to abolish the Electoral College, a remnant from the past designed to enshrine minority rule. Once people feel that their voices are heard regardless of where they live and what color their skin, we might be able to return to a more respectful discourse on the real issues we face as a nation and world. Please take the time to vote! Thank you!