Vote, vote, vote
I’m sure I don’t really need to remind anyone that an election is fast approaching. Even a relative recluse like myself can’t escape it.
But I do think it’s important every so often to remind ourselves that it matters.
If your vote didn’t matter why would everyone work so hard to get it? Why else would we get 86,532 text messages asking whether we’ll support this or that?
Ok, ok you’re right. It’s still hard to really believe in this the more you know about the electoral college and swing states and voter suppression tactics. It’s hard to believe even as we're told so often, in the power of one vote.
Before living in Colorado, I had voted in only one election; the 2008 presidential election. When you do the math, you’ll realize that means for the first very large chunk of my adult life I did not see fit to avail myself of a right that so many before me worked so hard to get.
This was for a combination of things probably that I haven’t actually spent a lot of time looking back to parse, but I think it all came down to this not believing it mattered. To not being able to make that connection between my lone vote and the bigger picture.
Since moving here six years ago, however, I have voted in every single election held including primaries. This is because upon registering to vote in Colorado, I began automatically receiving ballots in the mail.
I also receive a notification that my ballot is on its way usually several weeks before election day. And, when it’s relevant, I receive a booklet containing the details of what I’ll be voting for. It also provides the arguments for and against and what the particular issue will cost as well as whether it will bring in revenue.
Then, after my ballot is complete, I have the choice to put it in the mail up to a certain date, or I can take it to one of the drop-off locations, the closest one of which has never been more than a five minute trip from my home. Following that, I get an email confirming it was received, then an email confirming it was accepted.
It’s clean and it’s simple and most importantly, it’s easy.
Now, this wasn’t why I moved to Colorado, certainly; I didn’t even know before I lived here that it was this way. And so, of course, I didn’t participate in making it this way either.
But I can tell you for sure that now that I’m here, I’m proud to be a part of this system and I’ll do what I can to protect it for myself and for everyone else who lives here. Because there’s something about it being easy - a psychic nudge of sorts - that makes me feel valued.
It also makes things feel equal.
I may be valued, but not more or less than anyone else.
And it fosters a sense of belonging.
I am a part of the group and someone cares enough whether I’m heard to smooth the way.
All of which has caused a shift; a shift I didn’t realize until recently had even happened. It’s the shift from wondering or even really caring whether any single vote matters in the end to remembering that it’s the act of voting and what it says about my status as a person that absolutely does.
That’s what we honor when we cast our ballot and that’s why it matters.
Because we matter.
So if you've voted already, you have my gratitude and if you haven't yet, stay safe.