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  • Writer's pictureKathy Coudle-King

Your Vote Doesn't Matter?

They say my vote doesn’t matter. Maybe someone has said the same thing to you.

I live in North Dakota, a “red” state, and I will vote for Biden & Harris, yet my vote does matter, here’s why:

First, there are a long list of names on that ballot for whom I will and will not vote. These are people who will govern my state, people who will represent local interests at the state capitol. These are people who will make decisions about education in my state. People who will decide how my tax dollars are spent. People who may make decisions about the air I breathe and the water I drink.

There are also abstrusely worded measures on that ballot, which I’ve studied and learned are not in my or my neighbors’ best interest. I will vote “no” on those measures because I can. So, don’t tell me that my vote doesn’t matter.

My vote will be counted, and while it may not be in the “majority,” it will be a part of a percentage showing dissent. Let the record show . . . not everyone thinks or votes the same way in my state.

People – mostly women – spent their adult lives fighting for my right to vote. It took over a hundred years to obtain full suffrage. Those women were ridiculed, shunned, beaten, and imprisoned for my right to vote. Most Americans can name only a few of these women, if any at all. I think if you could tell Lucretia Mott or Alice Paul that most U.S. citizens don't know their names, they'd simply ask, "But do they vote?"

It’s been a hundred years since women* were enfranchised in the U.S., and yet women still do not make up 50% of state legislatures, and no woman has been elected to the highest office in the land. You may recall that one came close four years ago, but she, too, was ridiculed and people chanted “lock her up.” She was more intelligent, had more leadership experience than her opponent, even served as Secretary of State, a position Thomas Jefferson once held, but she lost to the carnival barker who publicly said on January 23, 2016,

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters."

And people voted for him. Their vote mattered.

In October of the same year, weeks before the election, Access Hollywood released an old interview with him, in which he joyfully bragged, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

And people voted for him. Their vote mattered.

I don’t know if you live in a “blue” state or a “red” state, but if you are a citizen of the United States, don’t let anyone tell you your vote does not matter. That’s simply a way to discourage you from exercising that vote. It is a way of silencing you. A lot of people sat out the last presidential election. They didn't want to vote for "crooked Hillary" or the reality TV star, so they chose to make a point with their silence.

But see, the problem with remaining silent is nobody hears you.

Your vote is your voice. Perhaps your voice won’t be loud enough to change things – tomorrow – but it is important you speak up. Be part of the record. History will reveal you were.

If hindsight is really "2020," then you know what you need to do:

Your vote really does matter. Writing Challenge: This one requires some research, but information is at your finger tips. Find out about the Freedom Riders, poll taxes, or the 19th amendment. Write about what you learn. Then pass it on to someone who is feeling like their vote doesn't matter. *Not all women were enfranchised by the 19th amendment. It took the 1965 Voting Rights Act before all people were enfranchised.

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