In these last weeks before November 3, the media is constantly speculating on how people are voting. We see a parade of polls. I’ve seen advice saying we should act like we are 10 points down and advice saying just the opposite, as it could discourage people who want to feel part of the blue wave. I’m saying one thing to you — your vote counts. No matter where you are and what race you are voting in. Here are five reasons why.
1. Voting in 2020 is more than the presidential race. You may live in a blue state, like I do, and believe there are more than enough people in the state to secure the electoral votes for Biden. You may live in a heavily red state and wonder why bother when it’s so solidly conservative. But in either instance, vote to make your voice heard. The more people voting blue, even in a solid blue state, the less the charge of voter indifference can stick. The more people who vote blue in a red state (even if it doesn’t flip), the more it shows a change in demographics — voting shows we are paying attention to who leads us. That means officials will be held accountable and actually have to pay attention to constituents with town halls and debates rather than assuming (as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham do) they are entitled to their seats. It’s the first step to change. High voting numbers scare Trump Republicans — because they know their jobs are in jeopardy. High numbers show politicians they can’t get away with using the office for their own enrichment and special interests anymore.
2. Every vote counts for the Electoral College and some may count dearly for local and state races. Regardless of the national poll numbers, it’s the Electoral College that decides the presidential election. Here is where every single vote builds the advantage to win that state. But keep in mind, vital races for the Senate, House and state and local legislatures are also on the ballot. The more the blue wave changes state and local politics, the more protection and stability we have overall. Some races come down to just a few votes. Remember the 2018 Virginia legislature race that ended in a tie and was decided (in Republican favor) by a random draw from a hat? Winning state races is vital to fighting against gerrymandering, including those in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. Visit the DemCast Meet the Candidates page for down-ballot candidates and throw some support their way.
3. There’s an amazing number of mail-in votes but not all are going to be counted. Some people are going to make human mistakes in signing or witnessing their ballot. No wonder, with the bewildering myriad of requirements for each state and the conflicting court decisions to validate or invalidate the ballots. Signature mismatches are one of the biggest reasons a ballot may be rejected. Someone’s vote may end up not being counted because a signature wasn’t included or because the ballot wasn’t returned in time (perhaps due to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s attempts to hamper the Post Office). If enough ballots are “lost,” your vote could truly make a difference.
4. We are facing fraud and intimidation. We have to worry about red state leaders and legislatures attempting to have properly completed ballots, especially mail-in ballots, invalidated through the courts. Donald Trump is certainly hoping that can happen. Every vote cast helps make the margins too wide to steal in court. Voting intimidation is a real thing. Whether it’s foreign interference by sending Democratic voters threatening emails or Trump encouraging intimidation through his “army” of poll watchers, some people may end up reluctant to vote in person and unable to vote by mail or drop-off ballot. Your vote could make up for that loss.
5. We need to send a message. It’s not just about winning. Winning is important, but the power of the voters sends a real message. If Democrats just squeak out a win in the election, Trump Republicans will be encouraged to try harder in 2022. However, if we keep a blue wave going, we send a message that we are tired of being harmed, neglected and ignored. We send a message that Americans care about each other and want to end the pandemic crisis and protect civil rights, LGTBQIA+ rights, health care, and reproductive choice, and have both a sustainable environment and economic growth for communities and families.
Please do not think your vote doesn’t matter. It does. Voting is a fundamental right, which has been denied to many over the years. Until 1964 poll taxes were used for voter suppression. Now we have states attempting to limit mail-in ballots and drop-off boxes. Hours-long voting lines are our new poll taxes, but we have voters braving the lines and people driving others to ballot boxes or bringing food for those who are waiting at the polls.
Your vote matters. It’s all part of the effort to change the country for the better. Please, if you have not done so, make a plan to vote right now. You can use this resource.
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