The first time I remember feeling riled up about voting was during a high school student council election. The person running for president of my class used grocery store items to capture the hearts and minds of my fellow classmates—truly the best way to meet a bunch of growing teens “where they’re at.”
“You butter believe I’d make the best president,” he said and pulled out a stick of butter from the ShopRite bag on stage, followed by: “I value each and every one of your friend-chips, and promise to listen to your ideas.”
It was by far the best campaign I’d ever seen, and you butter believe he got my vote. Now, as an adult, I still love food puns, but more importantly—I love voting.
More than 200,000 people voted in Philadelphia in the May primary. That’s not great, to be sure: Turnout was about 23 percent, four points lower than in 2015, but three percentages more than in 2011, the last time an incumbent mayor was on the ballot.
In the spirit of inspiring more folks to get to the polls, we caught up with some locals who voted in the last election who told us why voting is important to them.
From environmental concerns to honoring women who fought for the vote before you, each and every reason is as good as any—especially if it gets you to the polls.
“We’re voting in order to see positive change in Philadelphia.”
“It’s our civic right to vote.”
“I vote because it’s important to care about your local community and city.”
“We all need to vote.”
“It’s important to be part of the decisions your city is making—by engaging and listening to the candidates.”
“I voted in every election since I was 18 years old and I can’t imagine not taking part—it is essential to our democracy.”
“We vote because it’s our right and our voice.”
“It’s our civic duty to vote and to vote for what you believe in.”
“I vote to keep up with the people and politicians who are in charge in the city.”
“I vote because it exercises my right as a citizen.”
“I vote because it makes a difference.”
“I voted to be a part of the city and its elections.”
Photography by Anthony Pezzotti
“I vote because it’s our civic duty.”