Why I Vote

By Melissa Alexander

I have never missed an election since I turned 18. Now in my 60’s, I have voted in every single primary, local, school, special, general and every presidential election for 43 years! I have voted absentee if I had to do so and even made special trips home from college to vote.  I have voted in three elections in one year. I’m proud of this personal record–although I cannot take full credit for it as I was influenced by my parents and older brother.

My parents were life-long Democrats. They saw the that the party worked for poor and working people and worked to enact programs benefits to sustain our economy and educational systems and the betterment of all people while pushing for civil rights to bring those who had been excluded from society and government for all too long in America. My father’s favorite President was Harry Truman. My father never missed an election, other than some of the time he was in WW II and Korea serving his country. My father was an officer for many years in the county Democratic party. My mother’s favorite President was John F. Kennedy; she volunteered as a poll worker for elections for over 25 years and never missed an election. My brother was a political activist and organizer and voted regularly.  I have volunteered in numerous campaigns over the years and been a political observer on election day.

Against this background, I studied political science, obtained a law degree and carried on the tradition of political activism and voting they had instilled in me. When I teach political science courses, I survey the class to see who is registered to vote. On average, over 85% of my Political Science students were not even registered to vote. Their excuses range from “not wanting to be political” to their votes “not making a difference.”

2020 may very well be the defining election of my lifetime. The devastating effects of the current administration’s policies could fill a multi-volume treatise. Sitting this one out is simply not an option. There is still time to register to vote if you need to do so. You can vote early and avoid the crowds. You can vote safely by absentee ballot, which can be requested on line, by phone or by mail. You can drop your ballot at voting centers. Or you can vote on election day itself practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.

On November 3, I will once again be voting like my life and rights depend on it, because they will. I will vote in every single election until they pry my voter registration card out of my cold dead hands, and I encourage you to do the same.