Voting: Why It Matters


LaToya Jefferson, Editorial Writer

Tuesday, Nov. 8, will be one of the most important midterm election cycles that I have participated in since I began voting. With issues like bodily autonomy for women, Social Security, Medicare, student loan forgiveness, the economy, jobs, inflation and still dealing with a pandemic, it is more important than ever to make sure that your voice is heard. The best way to make your voice be heard is to vote!

This is a crucial point in time in American society. With the polarization of political parties and issues, it’s hard to sift through all the misinformation and non-bi-partisan chaos going on between the Senate and the House of Representatives and including the Executive Branch.

One positive note that I can say is that technology gives us the opportunity to research. Research, research, research! Learn about the politicians and issues that are going to be on the ballot. It may take some searching and sorting through all the nonsense before you can make an informed decision about who you want to vote for, but getting down to the root of the issues that do or will affect your life, your well-being, your family and your other fellow citizens for the betterment of our society can be the difference between a “do nothing” Congress and a Congress that can actually legislate and accomplish progress to making all our lives better.

As Americans, and especially for the younger generations compared to the Boomer generation, we have really slacked when it came to showing up for the midterm elections. I am Generation X myself. And I will be the first one to admit that the only elections that I felt were important when I was younger were pertaining to the presidential election. The midterms felt like the elections in between the major election, and they were not as promoted or significant as the presidential elections, or so I thought.

I never paid attention to how important and potentially damaging the midterms could be if there was an administration in office that I felt had the potential to move us toward the common goals that I wanted to see take place. As I stated before I am Generation X. I just missed being able to vote in the 1996 presidential election between Democrat presidential nominee Bill Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole. I would not turn 18 until March of the following year.

I was able to vote in the 2000 controversial election between Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush and Democratic presidential nominee also incumbent Vice President Al Gore. That election alone should have demonstrated the importance of making sure that every vote matters and every vote counts.

That close-call election came down to a difference of 537 votes in the state of Florida. It all came down to the Electoral College. Three weeks after the election on Nov. 26, 2000, the 25 electoral votes for the state of Florida were awarded to George W. Bush. Although George W. Bush had lost the popular vote by 543,895, the Electoral College helped push him over the 240 electoral votes needed to become president.

Of course, Al Gore put up a fight in the courts. In the end, he was forced to concede. The Electoral College is not a matter that effects the midterms, but as demonstrated by that election, the number of votes did matter in swaying that election.

As for the midterm elections, I now have an understanding of just how important they are for the executive branch to accomplish legislative goals. For presidents, having the Senate and the House of Representatives with a majority in your party is pivotal. Historically, most presidents have lost the midterm elections, which come up around the two-year mark into their presidency.

Losing a majority in either the Senate and/or the House of Representatives can stall any forward progress that an administration has or can do. And in the political atmosphere of today, it is almost a certainty that bipartisan support is null and void. Although not every senator or representative in Congress is on the ballot, the midterms is a way for American society to evaluate the presidency and see if we as citizens wish to continue to support the current administration or if we feel that the current administration does not have our best interest at hand and needs to be checked by changing the balance of government.

The difference in let us say elections from the 90sand early 2000s is that in today’s political climate, a president losing the party majority in Congress means that any legislation that an administration wishes to accomplish will come to an immediate halt. That is how nonpartisan American politics have become.

So, it is more important than ever for EVERY vote to count. We are currently fighting against voter suppression, disinformation, wild political antics and a polarized society. Friendships have been lost, families have been broken, and we have become so centered around someone’s political stance that it can mean the difference between understanding each other and having something in common or treating the opposition like they are enemies.

We are all citizens of this United States. Regardless of who you choose to vote for, your vote should and does matter. No matter who you wish to vote for, our democracy cannot survive if we all do not feel that our voice or vote matters.

I will conclude with this, as I stated before, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do not sit idly by and let others who vote adamantly in all elections make the decisions for you. Look into the policies that affect your life. Look into the politicians on the ballot and vote for who you feel will best represent you.

These elections are not just about the federal government. They are also about your local government, which has more of an effect on your everyday life. You are also helping select your local politicians, school board, county sheriffs etc.

When you show up to vote, you are showing those on the ballot that you are taking these issues seriously and if they do not follow through on their promises, then you have no problem going back into the voting booth and choosing someone else to replace them.


Do not forget to encourage your friends and family that their vote matters as well. See you at the voting booth.