8: Vote now while you still can

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

While I was out on my run last weekend, I came across this “leftover” Halloween decoration that I remembered from a previous election year, just with a slightly different message. 

Today is midterm election day in the United States and it feels a bit dire, doesn’t it? I don’t know, I feel like it’s been pretty dire for a while. 

Midterm elections historically have a lower voter turnout. I don’t really understand why people would choose to vote in a presidential election, but not in the midterms. It makes no sense to me. If there is an election, you vote. End of story.

This is not a spectator sport, everybody’s gotta play. – Rachel Maddow

Midterms are just as important, if not more important than presidential elections because if you recall, we’re a representative democracy where most of the power lies with Congress, NOT the president.

I am sure you all know this, but let’s recap: Congress has two chambers — the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congressional elections happen every two years. Voters choose one-third of senators and all members of the House of Representatives.

The Senate has 100 members, which serve for six years. Right now, the Senate has a 50-50 deadlock between Democrats and Republications, but it’s controlled by Democrats since Vice President Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote. This year, there are 34 seats up for re-election.

The House has 435 members, which serve for two years. Currently, there are 222 Democrats and 213 Republicans, but all 435 seats are up for election.

Before laws are passed, both the Senate and House must pass the bill by majority vote, before it is sent to the President’s desk. So it’s imperative for the president to have or keep a majority in both chambers to successfully legislate.

If one thing has become abundantly clear in recent months (or if we’re honest, for much longer really), is that Republicans have been chipping away at voting rights in many states because they know that they can’t win elections if enough voters turn out for the elections. They are afraid of the changing demographic tide and will try to restrict and deny voters wherever they can. That is why it’s important for every single eligible person to get out and vote to keep our democracy alive and protect our rights.

I am sorry to say this but Republicans might act all high and mighty when they talk about “small government” and “personal freedoms” but if you really take a good look at their policies, they actually like to be all up in people’s business. Republican policies are intended to restrict and infringe on people’s rights (voter suppression, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, just to name a few) more than any democratic policies ever would. Just think about that.

If you really care about individual freedom then you vote to protect individual rights by keeping and growing a Democratic Congress. If Democrats can grow their majority in the Senate, they will be able to break the filibuster on key issues like voting rights, access to abortion, and gun control and actually get some things done.

And do me one favor: please don’t be a single-issue voter. I understand that there might be this one issue that is really important to you, but it should not be the deciding factor for a gazillion other issues on the ballot. Make an informed and well-balanced decision. (And yes, I am aware that might require a little bit of research. Welcome to your civil duties.) Your values might not completely align with any of the candidates, but you vote for the best overall option. That’s what you do.

“Voting isn’t marriage, it’s public transport. You’re not waiting for ‘the one’ who’s absolutely perfect: you’re getting the bus, and if there isn’t one to your destination, you don’t not travel — you take the one going closest.” Debbie Moon

Please vote if you haven’t already. Bring a friend. Save America.
You can check your voter registration here and find your voting place here

P.S. I am trying to be hopeful. As of last night, 43 million people already voted early. That’s a record.

  1. I sometimes read my blog post from when I voted in 2016 and how happy and optimistic I was and…it just feels like I’m never going to feel that way again. This does seem dire and it seems like the end of something really big. But, let’s keep hope alive and send everyone to the polls!

    1. Ugh, remember the days when were optimistic? (I still don’t know how we went from Obama to Tr*mp.)

  2. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I was not able to vote in this country for a long time and it feels really important to me to make my voice heard. Even in case I was not happy with the choices available I would still vote because I rather live the elected official I prefer a little better (even if it’s not a perfect choice) than ending up with one someone else decided for me. My vote, my voice!

    1. I feel exactly like you, Meike (are you a dual citizen, too?). I never thought twice about voting in Germany, it was just something you did, but it became really important to me when I moved to the US and didn’t have the privilege to vote in the elections. People really take this privilege for granted in this country.

      1. Yes, I am also a dual citizen. I do think that they make it harder here to vote just because you have to register for it but I guess it’s a different system in general. I still can’t get used to the fact that there are only two major parties especially since there is a whole spectrum of opinions within.

  3. I’m with you 100%. I live in California, and we can vote by mail, so we did that last week. I am worried about our democracy. Trying to be hopeful, but it’s difficult, with all of the voter suppression measures. And then that jackass Trump wants to come ruin our lives again. Ugh.

    1. I feel good about living in a progressive state like CA and how easy they make voting here for us (with the mail-in ballots)… but yeah, it’s hard to be optimistic looking at the rest of the country, esp. the contested states. If Tr*mp comes back, I really have to rethink my current living situation.

  4. Been there done that! I do have a bit of a bad feeling about how things will turn out but at least I’ve had my say in the process.

    1. Cast our vote is the least we can do!

  5. I was just commenting on Kae’s post about how elections are just so different here in Canada. We have lots of challenges and struggles with our electoral system, but the whole political system is so much less charged and, I feel, less complicated? I barely know when an election is happening. There are some signs that go up around town and I might get a few flyers from candidates, but that’s about it. It’s a very short runway and people go and vote and then life moves on. We tend to have quite high voter turnout, too!
    Great job for voting – it’s a fundamental human right but one so many people don’t exercise. And every vote DOES count!

    1. I wish voting wasn’t such a circus in this country. It’s what makes this whole thing even more divisive than it has to be. I hope people turn out and make their voices heard.

  6. GREAT post, San! You really spelled things out clearly. I did early voting last week. I’m afraid of how this election is going to turn out, but at least I tried.

    1. Way to go for voting early, Jenny!

  7. Voting is our civil duty in a democratic state. Coming from eastern germany and knowing what it means to vote and getting a forged result or feeling the oppression if going to vote I will never tolerate people who don’t won’t and then complain. This is one of the best things we are having. I hope it will give some clarity on where the American people want to head. And hopefully its not to conservative…

    1. I hear you loud and clear! Voting was always something I wouldn’t have thought twice of in Germany, it was just something you did, but it became really important to me when I moved to the US and didn’t have the privilege to vote in the elections.

  8. I love the marriage vs public transportation analogy.

    My husband and daughter and I waited in line for two hours to vote last night. It was bolstering to see so many people come out to vote.

    1. Good for you guys! I love that Carla got to experience the process of voting.

  9. I voted about 2 weeks early! I haven’t ever missed an election since I was old enough to vote. My parents emphasized the importance of voting! MN has one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation. I wonder if it’s because of the Scandinavian roots many people have so we are kind of rule followers and really civically engaged. Voting is made pretty easy here, though. They are not trying to make it harder to vote unlike some states – which is just really sad.

    1. I feel the same about California – they make voting pretty easy here. My parents were appalled when I told them that it’s not like that in other states, that the state procedures are in fact quite different.

  10. I agree with everything you said here! I dropped my ballot off early in FL. Even though I’m disappointed in the results of the FL election, things went better than expected in other parts of the country so that’s a good thing for sure.

  11. San, you know I agree with everything you wrote here 100%. I am SO frustrated by the “both sides” approach from the media. There is one party that is actually doing things. There is another party that wants to return to the 1940s, wants to cling to power, and will do anything to achieve both of these objectives.
    As we now know, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it should have been so much better. Sigh. When will we learn?

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