Voting for leaders and policies that will put us on a path toward ending homelessness is essential. Registering to vote is the first step in creating change through the democratic process, but about a quarter of Washingtonians who are eligible to vote aren’t registered! To inspire our readers to register (or to update your registered address if you’ve moved), we invited a variety of people to tell us their thoughts on the importance of voting. We’re sharing their responses in the lead-up to National Voter Registration Day, which is tomorrow!
Today’s post comes from Leyi, a Franklin High School student who spent her summer working in my office at the YWCA. Leyi clearly understands the importance of civic participation, even though she’s not yet of voting age. This post reminds me that all of us who are old enough to vote bear the responsibility electing leaders who will best serve Leyi and other young people. -Denise
Why is voting important? I mean, if things are just going to turn out more or less the same way every time, why bother to vote? Other people will make the change, right?
This idea travels through the heads of many teenagers, and even adults, today. This thought is dangerous is because it shuts down people who have the potential to vote. The “other people” who you hope to make the change are thinking the same thoughts as you. The “other people” are hoping you make the change by voting.
One voice won’t matter, right?
But now thousands of other voices are being shut down the same way.
Now I don’t mean to make this all dramatic. If you choose to vote, that’s great! If not, okay, that’s your choice. For me, I believe that this is the chance to really do something. Our voices are telling officials that we care about important issues in our community and the world, like housing, education or public safety.
No matter how insignificant you think your voice sounds, it is still your way to contribute and to speak up. That is one reason why I am looking forward to voting; even though my part seems small, it is a part of the bigger picture. Just knowing that my voice is not necessarily being ignored, but that it’s being counted as part of everyone’s collective voice, is the most important thing.
Voting is exercising your freedom to speak up. It’s your chance to legally have a say in the system. It may seem like such a long time ago that people fought for our rights to vote, and for women to finally have a say along with men. But those who fought so hard for our rights are to be respected. And what is a better way to honor our history than by speaking up?
Vote because you have the right to. But more importantly, vote to make a difference.
Click the image below to register or update your registered address online:
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Register to vote, or update your registration address. Not sure if you’re eligible to vote? Visit the Secretary of State’s website to find out.
- Are you a homeless service provider? Help your program participants register to vote. The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness has a useful Homeless Voters’ Information Guide.
- Share this post on social media. It may be just the reminder your friends and family need to register!
- Subscribe to this blog, where we’ll keep sharing more compelling reasons you should register and vote.
Cross-posted with permission from Firesteel, a network of Washington YWCAs committed to ending family homelessness