I remember the first time I got to vote, I stood in the rain with college friends waiting to cast our ballots. That evening, we talked about the election, idealism bouncing off the dorm walls. Later we learned our candidate had lost.
No matter who your candidates are—right, left, or in the middle—I hope you will consider voting on or before April 2nd. Americans can vote without fear, regard for race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. Do not believe that your vote does not matter, it does. Do not believe someone else will vote for you, so that you do not have to. A local citizen said to me, “small town elections have (more) influence on Springfield and Washington than one might think.” Do not believe otherwise. If you cannot get to the polls on Election Day, vote early after work today.
Some candidates may be running unopposed; it appears no action is required. Vote anyway, for the sake of democracy. Show the effort, even if choices are limited. In theory, votes should be earned—study the candidates, attend a forum, listen to interviews and debates. READ.
The reality: Without question, our electoral system has issues. Campaigns and ballots can be tampered with. Computer systems can be hacked. Yet I am confident these systems can and will be improved upon. One of the students sitting in the Burnham, Calumet City, Lansing, or Lynwood school district could be the one to create America’s ultimate weapon against cyber warfare! I am idealistic enough to believe with the right foundation, the right instructors, and of course funding—these students can attend IIT, MIT, and beyond. Make the challenge happen with your votes for school board candidates. Our school districts can become just as high achieving as the oft-mentioned Homewood-Flossmoor Public School System.
The Trustee race in Lansing is on—3 vacancies and 4 candidates, including 3 candidates on the same ticket and 1 independent. Exercise your voting rights anyway. The Lan-Oak Park District has a race also.
Voters must realize that once a candidate has won an election, keeping campaign promises and trying to make goals happen can be difficult. Realize that some might not want your candidate(s) to succeed. Vote anyway. Consider former generations who made it possible for women and people of color to vote in this country. Consider that in some countries women are not allowed to vote even today. Let me encourage you to read about the Voting Rights Act being chipped away—it is still necessary. Voting machines break down or malfunction—machine shortages at some polling places, citizens in long lines being told they cannot vote after 7:00pm—all happened in 2018 elections. This is why you should vote, why you should stand against such tactics.
There is power in voting. Do not let another election happen without your participation.
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