By MPN Staff
Why Is Voting Important?
As November approaches, citizens of the United States prepare for what may be the most crucial election of our generation. It is a frequent part of American culture to encourage voting, but understanding its vitality is just as necessary.
Voting is the expression of the oppressed. Historically, minorities and diverse peoples have been denied voting rights. 2020 celebrates 100 years since the Suffrage Movement forced the government to grant white women the option to participate in elections. 2020 also celebrates 77 years for Chinese immigrants, and 72 for Native Americans. It has been a mere 55 years since the Voting Rights Act protected black and minority men and women to have this same option.
Each year that passes is another opportunity for minorities to be involved in a government that initially rejected their human rights; therefore, the votes of everyone, especially minorities, aids in our progression as a nation.
Minorities currently still face voting oppression. Studies show that predominantly black neighborhoods have extensive waiting periods and polling location confusion. Low-Income individuals have difficulty lining up their work schedules with polling times. Only 22.2% of the U.S. House of Representatives are women, and only 22.4% of Congress are nonwhite.
Whether or not these disadvantages are on purpose or pure accident, there is no confusion of its impact. If less minorities vote, less opinions will be shared. And these opinions are pivotal to an election like the one approaching.
Due to the historical and present disadvantages minorities face, it is essential for these people to vote. Voting is the civic duty of those who have past generations of disenfranchised family members.
One ballot echoes the strength of the voices who fought relentlessly for freedom in their own country.
How can I be an informed voter?
Exhibit 1 : The 4 W’s to Being an Educated Voter
Although voting is essential, being an informed voter is undeniably more influential.
There are 4 main steps in becoming an informed voter: The 4 W’s to Voting.
The first of these is What are we voting for?
What does a mayor do for your city? What can a governor control? How do these individuals make decisions? These are a few questions to ask yourself as you research positions. Learning about the positions open for office and their duties will assist you in the next step: Who is running?
Now that you know the responsibilities of each position you will be voting for, you can educate yourself on the people running. Before judging looks or party, educate yourself on policies they support. Are they for the Green New Deal? Do they prioritize education? Know the policies they advocate for prior to voting. This will determine what you are voting for, rather than who.
The third step is When do I Vote?
After doing your research in steps one and two, determine the registration deadline. As discussed previously, minorities still face voting adversity. To combat this, research when the registration deadline is, and then verify your registration status. If you are not registered, follow the registration process. After confirming you are registered, educate yourself on the voting date. Knowing when you vote is essential to the next step: requesting a mail-in ballot or finding your polling location.
(Log in to My Voter Page, then look under “Polling Place for State, County, and Municipal Elections”. Use MPN’s Voter's Resource Guide chart “U.S. States and Territories to complete the 3rd “W”).
Because of COVID-19, there is an abundance of mixed information when it comes to voting options. Use local and state government websites to clear up any confusion on your options.
Naturally, after casting your vote, there will be some release in pressure. You have completed your civic duty as a citizen! But knowing where to go from there can be difficult. The best thing to do is to stay updated with election results and potential new policies. You can watch or read about this information using the internet. If you do not have access to the internet, try to locate the closest public library or public resource centers.
These 4 W’s will help you bring some order to the chaos of voting.
Do I have a Constitutional duty to Vote?
Becoming an educated voter takes time, so why vote at all? Is there any expectation to vote? A constitutional duty?
People who are unable to vote, like undocumented immigrants, felons, children, people working towards gaining citizenship, are all relying on you to vote on their behalf. This doesn’t mean voting for them, but rather setting an example. Not everyone residing in the United States can vote, so the only way these people can be involved, is by relying on your participation.
60% of the eligible population voted in the most recent presidential election. Imagine an 80% turnout. That 20% could completely change election results. Many anti-voters argue that the electoral college determines the president; however, the electoral college is based on the majority of votes. Therefore, the electoral college is in the hands of the active and eligible voting population.
Of course there are uncountable faults in our government, but being politically active can catalyze changing them. “Every vote counts” is a sensationalized phrase, but its core values reign true.
Voting is meant to help you, your family, and the millions of other families in the U.S.
Not voting is explicitly rejecting a freedom we must take advantage of.
Voting is your constitutional duty as a citizen.
How Can MPN Help?
MPN is dedicated to providing resources for minorities and businesses. Reading the MPN Voter’s Resource Guide for 2020 is just one way we aspire to help others. We frequently post blogs related to minorities and voting as well as post on several social media outlets (See Exhibit 2 for our social media information).
Exhibit 2 : MPN Social Media Handles
Even if you are employed, millions of Americans are not. MPN connects employers to diverse, potential employees; so, share MPN’s resources and job board with others who may need the help. Also, stay tuned for another resource guide titled: Companies Hiring in the U.S. During COVID-19.
Encouraging others to stay educated and politically active will undoubtedly increase the voting population percentage. The future of America is determined by the government officials we choose to elect.
America is depending on your vote, and MPN is here to help.