Free Ride To The Polls, WomenVotes Takes You There

Free Ride To The Polls, WomenVotes Takes You There

By MONIQUE MORROW

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity of working together with a dynamic duo known as Nicole Wild Merl and Thomas Cook, co-founders of WomenVotes.org and the Carpool2Vote app to the polls. I was delighted and honored to be part of featuring them in our newly released book “The Internet of Women, Accelerating Culture Change”. How timely it is for this Carpool2Vote app to be available as a public benefit and for FREE.

WomenVotes.org is a successful organization that empowers women to vote and run for elected office. It is crucial this election year that everyone exercises their right to vote. It is with great enthusiasm that I am able to share with you the following information about this initiative.

URL for Carpool2Vote App https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/carpool2vote/id1159855268?ls=1&mt=8.

Free Ride To The Polls: WomenVotes Takes You There – Forbes http://bit.ly/2eBaYMf

“Voting is your duty and your vote does count. Do not think for one minute that your vote does not matter. Look what happened in the United Kingdom, e.g. BREXIT, a larger category of people did not vote largely millennials. They did not understand what was at stake and the implications to their daily lives. You can make a difference always in exercising your right to vote!”

Sincerely,

MONIQUE MORROW
CTO – Evangelist New Frontiers, Development & Engineering at CISCO
Co-editor, The Internet of Women, Accelerating Culture Change

Nationwide Collaboration to Enhance Voter Turnout

Nationwide Collaboration to Enhance Voter Turnout

YOUR FREEDOM TO VOTE IS A RESPONSIBILITY
Walk2Vote and Carpool2Vote Announce Nationwide Collaboration to Enhance Voter Turnout

By John Locke @Walk2Vote and Nicole Wild Merl @Carpool2Vote

Washington, DC/ Houston, TX, — Walk2Vote.com, a student led nationwide voting initiative created by the students at the University of Houston Downtown to connect and empower young voters announced today it is partnering with Carpool2Vote.com, the first-ever free ride share app to the polls with the goal of enhancing nationwide voter turnout through the use of technology and community support. Together, we will empower the community to unite our voices and get our citizens more involved in our democracy!

We can all agree, this presidential election is way too important for anyone to stay home because of lack of interest in the political process or because they couldn’t get to the polls. Now a model for schools nationwide, Walk2Vote.com seeks to not only encourage student and youth voting but to educate future generations of voters in the hopes of creating a sustainable interest in the political process on a local, state and national level. The 26th Amendment guarantees youth the right to vote. Walk2Vote.com helps them and their community to go out and do it!” said John Locke, Chair of the Houston Local Walk2Vote and founder of national Walk2Vote.com.

Carpool2Vote.com is a digital platform of The WomenVotes.org blog and social channels. Co-founders Nicole Wild Merl and Thomas Cook, shared “We are very proud of our collaboration with Walk2Vote.com. By joining forces with Walk2Vote.com we seek to build our community and network of high school and college age women and caring organizations who want and can make a difference. Our purpose is to empower women to vote and run for elected office and ensure every woman, mom, grandmother (everyone) gets their chance to vote in #Election2016 .”

Locke, further explains: “Our mission is to inspire people to vote and to go beyond just voting but volunteering and really engaging through the process. That is why I am really excited to partner with Carpool2Vote because it gives people away to engage, support their communities and #VoteTogether.”

A CALL TO ACTION is now in progress to increase voter turnout in the general election on November 8, 2016. Walk2Vote.com and Carpool2Vote.com need your help to outreach to college students, high school, and women and men across the country to join together; and,

  • Encourage students and youth to “Walk2Vote” in the general election en masse;
  • Ensure individuals needing a ride to the polls know they have free Carpool2Vote App; and
  • Recruit volunteers to drive as well as individuals to sign up now to carpool to vote.

“Voting is your duty and your vote does count.  Do not think for one minute that your vote does not matter.  Look what happened in the United Kingdom, e.g. BREXIT, a larger category of people did not vote largely millennials. They did not understand what was at stake and the implications to their daily lives. You can make a difference always in exercising your right to vote!” said Monique Morrow reminding us your freedom to vote is a responsibility.

 

 

CALL TO ACTION

CALL TO ACTION

by Women Votes

cp2v-350x250-v01Can you carpool with someone to vote on November 8th? Do you need a ride to the polls?
 
This election is too important for anyone to stay home because they couldn’t get to the polls!
 
Carpool2Vote is the first-ever FREE ride share app to the polls. Now available for download in the App Store (Carpool2Vote).
 
Very soon we will know who the next president of the United States will be. WomenVotes.org needs your help to outreach to women and men across the country to join together to make sure that individuals have a free app to get people to the polls to vote and enough volunteer drivers on general election day.
 
A call to action is now in progress to recruit drivers from around the country. The call to action is asking for people to volunteer to drive as well as individuals to sign up now to carpool to vote. Since this is a volunteer-based initiative created and developed in America, the more drivers that exist, the more people we can get to the polls.
 
Free Ride To The Polls: WomenVotes Takes You There – Forbes
 
Letter of Support – Monique Morrow
CTO – Evangelist New Frontiers, Development & Engineering at CISCO

Co-editor, The Internet of Women, Accelerating Culture Change                                    http://womenvotes.org/blog/free-ride-to-the-polls/

Entrepreneur Creates Free Ride Sharing App From Charlotte — Charlotte Business Journal
 
Entrepreneur Creates Free Ride Sharing App From Charlotte — BizWomen
 
Women Votes and #Carpool2Vote are bi-partisan initiatives with a purpose to empower women to vote and run for elected office. To further spread the word, Carpool2Vote is being promoted by AMC Networks Inc., which will support outreach and inspire civic engagement through online support on its corporate website and network websites. AMC Networks Inc. owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning brands in cable television: AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, and WE tv.
Free Ride to the Polls: WomenVotes Takes you There

Free Ride to the Polls: WomenVotes Takes you There

By Brian Rashid — Forbes

Free Ride to the Polls: WomenVotes Takes you There by Brian Rashid

As featured in Forbes, October 9, 2016

This is breaking news, or should I say, “braking” news.

If you are in many parts of America, you can get a ride to the polls.

This ride will be round-trip.

This ride will be free.

This ride will be provided by 100% volunteer drivers and is women inspired.

This ride could change the future of the America you live in.

Nicole Wild Merl and Thomas Cook are the co-founders of WomenVotes . The initiative,
which was first ever virtual co-op authorized by Northeastern University College of
Professional Studies, has turned into a national movement. WomenVotes was officially
launched in 2016 with the support of Washington Media Institute under the leadership of
Amos Gelb to 10 participant millennial consultants from colleges across the United
States to gain their perspectives and assistance. Today, all now serve as WomenVotes
founding Millennial Advisory Board along with some talented Norheastern University
students.

Initially, WomenVotes set out to create real-time, non-partisan twitter conversations.
Through the combination of twitter and their blog, there would be a place for women
everywhere to share their thoughts about the important issues in the upcoming election,
regardless of party lines. The mission statement was simple. WomenVotes empowers
women to vote and run for elected office. As their users started engaging more with
each other, and using the hashtag #Election2016, Nicole and Thomas realized a huge
opportunity to embrace empowerment and grow their initiative.

This was the birth of Carpool2Vote.

Carpool2Vote is the first ever volunteer based app that provides free rides to the polls
for people all across America. I have heard that women created the idea of carpooling,
so it is fitting and appropriate this idea comes full circle where women are now driving
voters to the polls across the country. Even the major ridesharing platforms are not
offering such a service. Yes, they offer vouchers and gift certificates, but only one-way,
and only to new users. Carpool2Vote, on the other hand, offers free rides to anyone
who signs up. No credit redemptions. No stress about whether or not you are a first time
user. Free for everyone.

This app has stirred up a lot of excitement among major supporters. Hundreds of
thousands of women members are coming together to make sure that individuals have
a free app to get you to the polls to vote. Influential followers on twitter include: Ellevate
Network, National Association for Female Executives, Working Mother, and the Internet
of Women community, led by Monique Marrow, are supporting Women Votes on this
initiative. This is just the beginning of the potential possible.

“We are excited and delighted that we will be able to reach out to hundreds of
thousands of Deca’s students, teachers, and parents across America to build
awareness and social responsibility in the next generation of leaders,” Nicole and
Thomas told me.

A call to action is now in progress to recruit drivers from around the country. The call to
action is asking people to volunteer to drive as well as for individuals to sign up now to
carpool to vote. Since this is a volunteer-based initiative created and developed in
America, the more drivers that exist, the more people can get to the polls. To further
spread the word, Women Votes is thrilled that Carpool2Vote is being promoted by AMC
Networks Inc. AMC Networks Inc will support outreach and inspire civic engagement
through online support on its corporate website and network websites. AMC Networks
Inc. owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning brands in cable
television such as AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, and WE tv.

The app was designed by Justin Insalaco, the CEO of 3BDreams , with the help of his
team including Chief Architect, Matt Young.

“When we heard about the opportunity to develop a rideshare application to get people
to the polls, I was ecstatic to help. The user experience is very simple by nature so
everyone can navigate it to enhance the number of people that can get to the polls,”
Insalaco told me.

The app is now live and can be downloaded in the App Store (Carpool2Vote). In just a
few steps, you can create a profile as either a driver or user. The team also took a
thoughtful approach to the safety and accuracy of the app. The App ensures the rider is
getting in the correct vehicle driven by the correct driver through a very simple
authentication solution that’s similar to the way warehouses work. Each driver will be
issued a unique barcode based on their license plate and driver’s license. When the
driver’s car arrives, that barcode will be displayed on the driver’s phone, and the rider
can quickly take a picture of the driver’s barcode to ensure they are getting into the right
vehicle. If the driver is who they should be, the passenger will receive a confirmation
sound (beep) and vibration after they “scan.” If the driver is not correct, there will be an
alert on the passenger’s phone. This feature is not present in either Lyft or Uber today,
and will help reduce passenger risk on election day.

Every time I open my phone or turn on a TV, I see something about the election. A new
finding, a hot topic, opinions about the candidates. And then I wonder, “how many
people are doing something about the general public’s ability to influence these
stories?”

Nicole, Thomas, and Women Votes answered that question for me. They showed me
how a small group of committed people can make a ripple in the next month. In the next
decade. In the next century.

They show us that whether you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent, change is
possible.

And that change is not limited to an office in Washington DC.
We can do it from the palm of their hands.
Or maybe, the back seat of our cars.

Free Ride to the Polls: WomenVotes Takes you There by Brian Rashid, Forbes Contributor

The Internet of Women – Accelerating Culture Change

The Internet of Women – Accelerating Culture Change

516yltx0obl-_sx355_bo1204203200_

Read our #WomenVotes Making History article submission online! 

River Publishers published the book “The Internet of Women – Accelerating Culture Change” (ISBN: 978-87-93379-68-8), which we believe will provide a strong contribution to global discussions on Gender Equality and Women in Technology.

Editor team for the book are Rahilla Zafar of ConsenSys, Monique J. Morrow, CEO of New Frontiers at Cisco, Laurie Cantileno, Cisco, and Dr. Nada Anid, Dean of the College of Computer Science and Engineering at the New York Institute of Technology. The target audience include Corporations, Academic Institutions, the Private Sector, General Public, Government Agencies, and Gender Experts, and we deem Key Benefits of the book to be understanding why the Internet of Women matters as a path towards implementing diversity overall globally. It also defines the strategies, tools, and tactical execution on how to get there, through – amongst others – case studies.

The Internet of Women – Accelerating Culture Change” has been reviewed and endorsed by influential persons such as Craig Newmark (Founder craigslist and craigconnects), Alan Masarek (CEO of Vonage), Adam Grant (Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE) and HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud (CEO of Alf Khair).

In their joint statement, the book Editors emphasized that “The Internet of Women: Accelerating Culture Change is the first book of its kind to profile women leaders from over 30 countries making historic contributions to the field of technology.”

Mark de Jongh, Publisher at River Publishers, stated “We are very enthusiastic about the publication of this book. The Editor team have compiled a defining book which includes over 30 stories from influential persons from around the globe, and the message that it provides should prove to be influential and informative within the community”.

River Publishers (www.RiverPublishers.com) is a global scientific and technical publisher, providing researchers in academia, scientific institutions and corporate R & D departments with quality content via innovative products and services.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Why Women Who Care About The Environment and Health Must Vote

Why Women Who Care About The Environment and Health Must Vote

By Paige Wolf

paige-wolfEveryone can agree that this is a presidential election like no other. And with both the fight for the highest office and contentious down ballot races for control of congress, voting is absolutely essential.

As parents, nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our children. That is why my top priority is voting in elected officials who will do everything in their power to slow climate change, pursue clean energy resources, protect our food and water system, and make sure there are regulations in place for consumer product safety.

However, there is one candidate in this presidential race who stands firmly against progress on these issues, calling for the ultimate free market economy with no regulation nor concern for consequences.

Donald Trump is the first major presidential candidate to wholly deny the mere existence of global warming, an extreme stance not even shared by some of the most conservative politicians.

On Nov. 6, 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” On Jan. 25, 2014, he tweeted, “NBC News just called it the great freeze — coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?”

When questioned by the press in event the most recent months, he has stood firmly by these statements. Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

 These extreme views run counter to the beliefs of 70% of Americans who are concerned about climate change, not to mention 99.5% of climate scientists.

This runs polar opposite of the most progressive democratic platform in history, with a strong stance on mitigating climate change and a specific plan to get 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade.

These vast differences are crucial at a time when there is so much on the table.

In August 2015, President Obama along with the Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s most ambitious legislation to combat global warming. The Clean Power Plan would set a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants and strengthen the trend of clean energy by setting goals for states to cut their carbon pollution. The plan could potentially reduce the pollutants that contribute to smog and soot by 25 percent, leading to net climate and health benefits of an estimated $25 billion to $45 billion per year in 2030. Opposition from some states led to a stalemate in Supreme Court. Due to a split vote in the Court, which now holds a vacant seat, the plan will remain in limbo until after the next presidential election.

After 40 years of lobbying, advocacy, and debate among legislators, the final Toxic Substances Control Act reform bill was passed in June 2016. This long-fought-for TSCA reform is more limited than environmental and health advocates had hoped for, but it is still meaningful in its protection and a step in the right direction.

Though, with the wrong hands at the wheel of democracy, these regulations could be overturned along with all the other protections hard won by health and environmental advocates. And we haven’t made nearly enough progress as it is, with lead in tap water systems, fracking-linked earthquakes in Oklahoma, and skyrocketing asthma, allergy, autism, and cancer rates linked to pollution, toxin exposure, and the proliferation of unsafe chemicals in our food system.

In all fairness, there are many progressive democrats who do not see Clinton as strong enough on environmental issues, calling into question her history of supporting fracking in the past. As someone who supported Sanders in the primary, I can understand the hesitation. However, her recent statements and the official platform of the Democratic Party prioritize ending these unsafe natural gas extractions with meaningful goals and parameters. And whether we like it or not, there are only two possible realistic outcomes for the next president of the United States – and every vote counts.

There are many former democrats who staunchly refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton. Some are voting third party and some refuse to vote at all. I agree that we do need viable third party candidates. However, there is simply not a reasonable third party presidential alternative for 2016. Green Party candidate Jill Stein lacks foreign policy experience and I believe she is simply unqualified to be Commander in Chief. Libertarian Gary Johnson applies his anti-regulation views by supporting the use of fossil fuels and “keeping an open mind on fracking.”

That said, we do need to be electing more third party candidates from the ground up. There have been some excellent third party candidates voted into office in smaller elections throughout the country – but not enough. Let’s take a cue from Bernie Sanders to fight for those progressive third-party candidates in our state and city elections – even congress should a viable candidate arise.

Staying home is not an option. Women have fought to hard for the right to vote and we must exercise that right. Hopefully you agree with me that fighting for a safe environment with clean air and water is a key priority. And, if you do, you can take advantage of the brilliant new Carpool2Vote service, a free rideshare app that introduces volunteer drivers to voters needing a ride to the polls.

No issue is more imperative than making sure we have a planet to live on – clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe, and products that won’t cause illness. I hope you will join me Tuesday, November 8, by foot, by bike, by train, or by carpool. Just get there however you can!

Paige is the author of Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt and the owner of Paige Wolf Media and Public Relations, a B Corporation certified eco-friendly PR firm focused on sustainable clientele. Visit www.spitthatoutthebook.com for her blog on making green living practical, manageable, and affordable.

 

Why I Vote. Why I Care.

Why I Vote. Why I Care.

By Sheri K. Cole, Philadelphia, PA @bflysmile

Why I Vote. Why I Care: The Personal

S Cole CareerWardrobe

I have a clear memory of the day. January 15, 1988. It was a normal Friday to most people. But this was the day I turned 18. The day I could officially register to vote. And I did.

I was probably listening to George Michael’s “Faith” on the radio as I pulled into parking lot of my hometown library in Kettering, Ohio, in my mother’s borrowed car. I can still see the stark Frank Lloyd Wright-esqe building in my memory and asking the librarian for the Voter Registration form. Filling it out, I immediately felt like I was a connected to something larger.

But my interest in politics started before then.

I remember fighting with my best friend in 1980 when she said her family supported Jimmy Carter and I knew we were a Reagan family. I remember in elementary school asking my mother if I could watch her vote and being told that voting was a private act. No one should know who you voted for, and that meant me, too.

But by 1988, I wasn’t a young Republican. I shared a birthday with Martin Luther King, Jr., and had grown up with that knowledge which led to an interest in civil rights. As a member of the speech and debate team in high school, I wrote an award-winning oratory on the injustice of South African’s apartheid regime. And after registering to vote, I drove to West Dayton to the campaign office of Jessie Jackson and picked up a yard sign and button. He was my candidate, even though I wasn’t allowed to display those things in my yard.

In the intervening years, I’d studied political systems and became a feminist. I learned about women’s suffrage, dedicated my life to improving the lives of women. When someone tells me they aren’t registered or don’t bother to vote, I can’t stop the rage welling up in me.

Women died so we could have that right. There are women all over the world who are fighting today to have the right to voice their opinions in their political systems.

In 1992, I was ecstatic to see Bill Clinton elected President, but it was his working and accomplished wife, Hillary Rodham – who used her maiden name, who stood up and declared that women could do more than bake cookies and be arm candy – that really interested me. In 2008 when she conceded to President Barak Obama and talked about the “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling,” I cried both because we were on the verge of seeing our first African American President, but also because my hope of seeing a woman President in my lifetime was delayed.

Why I Vote. Why I Care: The Issues

As you might guess, Hillary Rodham Clinton is my candidate in the Pennsylvania primary. And I don’t shy away from the fact seeing a woman hold the highest office in the United States is important. It’s as ground breaking as the “first” anything is: Catholic, African American, Jewish, Latino, Gay. And here’s a secret: the “first” anything is never perfect. To get to and break that ceiling to a group’s advancement, no matter who has placed it there or what it’s made of, requires negotiation, compromise and playing by the rules that you have had little input into setting.

And yes, I dream of a day when two qualified female candidates debate one another on the Presidential, Governorship, Senate or even local election stage. We don’t see that today.

Today it is as if women are largely given a “token” candidate and asked to accept that for many reasons, not the least of which is that we aren’t given access to political leadership positions that will lead to support for her candidacy.

But here’s another secret: no one is perfect. To ask for a candidate to be perfect is to ask to be disappointed. But as voters, we have the right to ask a candidate to be honest about their biases and open in their thought process. We have the right to ask them to listen to all view points and come to a conclusion that will improve the lives for the most people.

And for me, the “most people” that are paramount in my life and work are women. And statistics tell the story of why women need to be engaged in the political process1.

  • We make up 51% of the population of the United States and as we grow older, we start to radically outnumber men (66% of people over 85 are women).
  • We make up 47% of the labor force. Think about that. Without women businesses would not only suffer from lack of employees, but see sales dramatically decrease because women’s independent earnings fuel their buying power.
  • And more women are choosing to remain single2, which can put an even larger economic burden on us and those of our children (if we choose to have them).

But here’s a really interesting statistic: women vote at a higher rate than men. 43% of women voted in 2014, versus 40% of men. Yet women have never voted in a block because unlike many other demographic groups, women are not a monolithic whole. If we choose to not vote and not be engaged in national or local elections, then we are choosing to let others decide our fates.

Yet, women and the issues that are most important to us, such as economic opportunity, education, healthcare, are often treated as an afterthought. You see that in the discussions around both the Republican and Democratic primary contests. If Hillary Clinton were not in the race, I would bet that we would be talking even less (if that’s possible) about how policies impact women.

Even with her presence, we still haven’t had a substantial discussion about women’s health and sexual violence, income inequality as it pertains to women being segregated in low-wage jobs, incarceration rates and re-entry policies that unfairly penalize women who are pulled into illegal activity by the men in their lives… and I could go on.

So I care about politics and this election cycle for the same reason that every woman should care: without our voices as part of the process we can’t impact any change to improve the quality of our collective and individual lives. That’s why I will be voting the last Tuesday in April in the Pennsylvania primary, and I hope you will, too.


Sheri K. Cole is a resident of Philadelphia, PA and you can follow her online @bflysmile where she tweets about pop culture, feminism and politics. She is also Executive Director of Career Wardrobe, a social enterprise that uses clothing to empower women in Southeastern Pennsylvania to successfully transition to work.


1 http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womencensus1.html

2 Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies – http://books.simonandschuster.com/All-the-Single-Ladies/ Rebecca-Traister/9781476716565

For the Girls…

For the Girls…

“Mommy, can I please touch the red button now?!?” she asked as she furiously wiggled next to the curtain.

“No! I want to press the red button!” protested her sister, a constant rival for button-pushing privileges.

I calmly suggested, “How about we all press it together?”

So three fingers – one big, two small – pushed the red button. CAST VOTE NOW. And we did. I opened the curtain of the voting booth. My daughters excitedly announced to the booth attendant, “I helped Mommy vote today!” The attendant smiled and said, “Good job, girls! Now remember to do this when you grow up!” They happily agreed as they bounced towards the exit.

We walked to the car, where my husband was waiting for us. He had already voted earlier in the day. The windows were rolled up, so my husband was quite startled when one of the girls slapped both hands on the glass. She pressed her face to the window and shouted through the pane, “DADDY! We helped Mommy vote!!”

My other daughter said, “Daddy, did you know that a girl can be president? That’s what Mommy said. Did you know there has never been a girl president?” He grinned and assured her that girls can do anything that boys can do, maybe even better.

We went home, had dinner, took a bath and prepared for bedtime. They wanted their dad to read bedtime stories that night, so I indulged in a little grown-up TV while folding the laundry. I turned on the news. “Well look at that…,” I thought, “Hillary won New Jersey.”

I stopped what I was doing and ran into my daughters’ bedroom. “Girls! Girls, “I exclaimed, “We did it! We made a difference! Hillary won the New Jersey primary! She’s going to be the Democratic presidential candidate!!”

Now, my four-year-old twins don’t quite understand what a presidential election is. They don’t know what a “primary” is either. They certainly don’t understand the concept of a Republican vs. a Democrat. What they do understand is that this was a BIG deal for girls. The leader of the free world could be a girl. For the first time ever.

I scooped up the sleepiest one and kissed her plump cheek while she lazily giggled. Her sister jumped up and asked, “Can I be president too, Mommy?” I said, “Maybe one day, my love.”

In this moment, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. If you are a woman – a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend – Hillary’s historic milestone renews and validates gender equality on an unprecedented level.

I tucked my girls into bed. I kissed their heads and thanked them for helping me vote. For helping me make a difference for women everywhere. No matter who wins this election – this extraordinary breakthrough, this powerful turning point, this moment…. It’s #ForTheGirls.

#ImWithHer #Election2016 #WomenVotes

Why vote?

Why vote?

By Martha Bedell Alexander
Former Representative
North Carolina House of Representatives

Back in the early 90’s I decided to pursue an elected office. I had thought for a long time about running for the state legislature. I took the leap and ran for the state senate. The polls showed I would only receive about 18% of the vote. There were people encouraging me to drop out of the race. I remember thinking that if I dropped out of the race and decided to run another time people might not pay me any attention and would not think I was a serious contender because I might drop out again! The bottom line is I received over 40% of the vote in that election.

The next election cycle I ran for the state house. And this time I won the primary by 49 votes. When the recount was completed I gained one more vote. So, I actually won by 50 votes! In this particular election whoever won the primary was the winner since the other party did not have a candidate in the general election. I had the privilege of serving for twenty years. And, only 50 people elected me to office. Look around you today in your office, on the street, in the grocery store and realize you have probably seen more people in those environs than put me in office. Each person’s vote counts.

Back to ‟why vote?”

Many times, particularly in major elections on the state or national level it is sometimes hard to see why it matters. Thousands of votes are cast. Someone might wonder ‟where is my vote?”

After taking the time to vote is the happiness of the voter if the person’s candidate of choice wins; but there is the major disappointment if the person’s candidate is not the winner. What is important is the fact that within our democracy we have the opportunity to vote. And it behooves one to understand that by casting a vote for someone is showing the support of the ideals that candidate has put forth.

By casting a vote also is a sign to the winner that there are people within their constituency who have a different opinion on issues. It gives the winner a way to gauge the issues that have been discussed or ones with which they are confronted. And, by voting the voter has the opportunity in advocating for their causes to remind the winner they are voters and part of their constituency.

There are many ways to learn about the candidates. Newspapers, television, social media, public forums, mailings and a candidate’s campaign events are a few resources to learn more about them. Also, speak to your neighbors, other employees, family and friends. Someone you know might know one of the people running for office. And, do not forget that from the local board of elections you are able to have information about how to contact the candidate. Try to learn about all of the candidates, because you never know who might win and who will be a contact for you on specific issues.

It is also very important to find out the various election contests for the primary and general election. It is imperative to understand the whole ballot is important from local, state and national candidates to those who are running in the judicial branch or other specific offices.

Sometimes people only vote for the president and do not vote for anyone else. That is why I would like to urge you to become aware and knowledgeable for all offices. Each office has a major role to play in either an administrative, legislative or judicial manner. Staying home and not voting is not a very good option. It is giving away our privilege of voicing our opinion. Elected officials are making decisions, rulings and laws which affect us all. Join them by adding your voice as one of their constituents. You can make a difference. Invite someone to join you. Take someone to vote. Do not have an empty car.

Your VOTE makes a difference. I know that personally.

Martha Bedell Alexander
Former Representative
North Carolina House of Representatives