In case you needed any further proof that elections matter, look no further than this week’s leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 privacy ruling that made abortion legal countrywide.
Though no one in the know was especially shocked by the likely ruling, it signifies a fever pitch in the long American battle over abortion rights. And whether you support the Court’s ruling or oppose it, the future of women’s access to abortion is now in the hands of our elected officials, both here in Pennsylvania and in Congress.
That means it’s in our hands, as voters — as are myriad other important and fundamental issues facing our state, country and even democracy itself.
Need more convincing — or need more ammunition to convince your friends and family to vote? Read on.
Why you should vote this election season in PA
- Because no less than the makeup of the U.S. Senate could be on the line. With Republican Senator Pat Toomey stepping down, his seat is open this year. Who Pennsylvania sends to Washington, D.C. could flip the split legislative body either Democratic or Republican.
- Because we have a chance to send a new senator to Washington who reflects our state … or who doesn’t. If you’re a Republican, it’s a chance to weigh in on the influx of candidates — at least three of them who are brand new residents of the state.
- Because we get to decide who represents us, not parties or machines. If you’re a democrat, it’s a chance to send a message to the Democratic City Committee about whether you agree with their endorsements last month of the challengers to incumbent state representatives Elizabeth Fiedler in South Philly and Rick Krajewski in West Philly, and Western PA’s Conor Lamb for Senate, over Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Philly’s own Malcolm Kenyatta.
- Because even if you are a registered Independent — and therefore can’t vote for a candidate this month — there are four ballot questions ranging from housing issues to zoning to language that need vetting.
- Because we are headed into a governor’s race that will determine who will lead our state for the next four years (at least). Do you really trust the other guy to make the decisions you favor?
- Because dozens of our neighbors have thrown in their lot to be Committeepeople, helping to ensure fair and efficient elections. The least we can do is help them do their jobs.
- Because you could still become the write-in winner for your neighborhood’s Committeeperson if no one else is on the ballot. Glory!
- Because, as the old ad slogan once said: “Philadelphia Isn’t as Bad as Philadelphians Say It Is.” We are vote-supporting, puppet-making, spontaneous dancers, for goodness sake. Casting a ballot is a vote for the future of our great city.
- Because democracy is — no exaggeration — at risk in America. Last year, according to the Brennan Center, 19 states passed 34 laws that limited access to voting, and nearly 450 other bills were introduced in 49 states — including Pennsylvania. Are we really going to let the enemies of democracy get away with that?
- Because the most profound way to support Ukrainians who are fighting for their right to exist is by demonstrating the power of choosing our own destiny. We can still be the America that stands as an example of free will, if we choose to use it.
- Because the pandemic made clear more than ever that good leaders matter. It’s not enough to fight against those who are making decisions for us; we have to ensure the right officials are overseeing our health and well-being. Your life may literally depend on it.
- Because the children are counting on you. It’s hard to be a young person in America these days, especially during the pandemic. They feel under threat from violence, debt, a lack of jobs where they live, schools that don’t meet up to the challenge, a mental health crisis that is overwhelming. For those who can’t vote yet, your voice matters; for those who can, your voice still matters.
- Because dozens of inspiring young people in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are doing everything they can to get their peers to vote, from Lorene Cary’s VoteThatJawn to Tom Quinn’s PA Youth Vote, to SEAMAAC’s incredible outreach work. Let’s set a good example.
- Because it’s habit-forming. Research shows that voting begets more voting. Which means, you just need to start.
- Because the movement towards racial equity that was jumpstarted after the murder of George Floyd is not a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will take hard work, from all of us, to ensure we create a fairer world. Voting for those whose values align with this mission is the easiest part.
- Because if you don’t vote, then the message to our “elected” leaders is clear: You don’t care. The list of who votes is public (though not who you vote for). And politicians often make decisions based on that information. Want your state representative to care about young people? Then young people need to vote. Ditto any other demographic, ditto you.
- Because is there a better excuse to cut out of work early or show up late?
- Because you can.
MORE FROM THE CITIZEN ON THE 2022 PA PRIMARY
Header photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash