It always surprises me that voting isn’t a more social event. After all, as Americans, we love our democracy. We love the idea of being ruled “by the people,” and yet somehow the actual process of voting becomes as personal and private as tax returns. While I understand why many people choose to keep who they voted for private, I don’t understand why voting is not something that we all do together. I simply can’t grasp why democracy, which is a celebration of ideas and minds coming together, is demonstrated by people quietly voting alone rather than with other members of our communities.
This election season, countless get-out-the-vote campaigns will sweep across the United States to convince Americans to register and vote this November — including the AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign! Each effort will target a different audience — from women to college students to minorities — and try to show these groups just how much their votes affect their daily lives and freedoms. It’s My Vote is focused on educating, engaging, and registering millennial women voters by emphasizing how things like equal pay, student debt, and birth control access affect women. These voter mobilization efforts might have different tactics, but what they want is the same — to express the importance of each and every vote.
As much as voter mobilization efforts accomplish, they will never succeed in catching every potential voter. I know this because I work for one of these campaigns. Don’t get me wrong — the work we do is wonderful. I am filled with pride every time I hear about a successful voter registration drive or see a video of a young woman telling her personal story of what voting means to her.
But we — you and I, as individuals — can fill in the gaps missed by get-out-the-vote efforts. If you believe, like I do, that democracy is the best form of government we’ve yet sustained, then it should also be important to you that everyone in your life votes. I mean everyone — from your 86-year-old grandmother to your 18-year-old brother, who spends most of his day playing video games. No matter how insignificant our actions and our votes may seem, it will take everyone’s effort if we ever hope to reach that “more perfect Union.”
Like thousands of men and women who came before me, I believe in democracy. I believe in it enough to drag you to the polls — no matter who you are or who you vote for. So on November 6, take responsibility for more than one vote, and get as many folks as possible to cast their ballots.
This post was written by AAUW Social Media Intern Brittany Edwardes.