November 2, 2020
Your Vote Counts: Thoughts from Kaitlyn (Kivi) Llewellyn, HR Manager
This year, the news and social media have been flooded with calls to register and exercise your right to vote. You cannot log in to any social media platform without seeing a pop-up or notification directly from the platform inquiring, “have you checked your voter registration?” Once you begin to scroll, you likely see even more reminders of the upcoming election through the political opinions of any friends, family members, or even businesses that you follow.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
However, between the global pandemic, calls for social justice reform, fears around financial security, and issues surrounding childcare and schooling – taking the time to register to vote, request a mail-in ballot, or stand in a line of undetermined length to cast your vote can feel like an insurmountable task. And frankly, the cacophony that seems to surround the political divide can make you wonder, amidst all of the challenges in today’s world, what difference can my one vote even make?
USE YOUR VOICE THROUGH YOUR VOTE
I believe that your vote is a critical privilege of living in a free nation.
Every four years, we have the opportunity as citizens to make our voices heard by weighing in on how local, state, and national representatives will best serve our interests. Unfortunately, many citizens throw away that opportunity by not voting. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has very low voter registration and turnout; in 2016 only about 64% of the US voting age population was registered to vote compared to 91% in Canada (2015) and the UK (2017), 96% in Sweden (2014), and 99% in Slovakia (2016).
COMBAT TODAY’S CHALLENGES
Perhaps 2020 is set to upend those statistics. Amidst this year of many challenges including a devastating global pandemic, associated safety and financial concerns, widespread wildfires, murder hornets… people are turning up at the polls in record-sweeping numbers. The American voter is combating today’s challenges with their ballot and looking to play a part in community and country leadership. At the time of this writing (one week before Election Day), Americans have cast nearly 50% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election. Young and first-time voters in particular are eager to participate in democracy; the Circle Research Center at Tufts University shows that a majority of youth (ages 18-29) who requested a ballot have already returned it. Our social media feeds are now being flooded with “I Voted” selfies at the mailbox and pictures of socially distant lines at the polls.
CAST YOUR BALLOT
This resurgence of patriotism through voting is a bright hope for a future where we take time to participate in democracy and make our voices heard. The 2020 Election is so much more than just a Presidential race; your ballot includes state and local offices and amendments that impact your community. I implore you to visit credible, non-partisan organizations like Vote.org to do your research and determine how representatives would best serve you and your family this election season. In an effort to support CRC team members’ opportunity to vote during this challenging year, I am proud that CRC will be closing offices at two hours early on Election Day to allow for increased wait time at the polls. Whether you vote at the polls or at the mailbox this year, I hope you appreciate the privilege of casting your ballot and take a moment to reflect on those that came before us to fight for the right to vote. Make it count.
February 15, 2022