By McKenzie Ward
Every four years, the United States has a presidential election.
While the presidential election is extremely important as it helps determine who will serve as the next U.S. president, in between presidential elections, there are midterm elections.
Midterm elections occur generally halfway through a president’s four-year term. During the midterm elections, a third of the seats in the United States Senate and all the seats in the House of Representatives are decided upon by voters. There are also other state elected positions up for election as well and often there are state ballot questions.
While the midterm elections may not determine who will serve as the president, they are equally as important and impactful on the United States as presidential elections.
The next midterm election is Nov. 8 and in Massachusetts, not only will there be opportunities for voters to decide on who will serve in state elected positions, such as governor and secretary of state, there are also four ballot questions.
During the 2018 midterm election, in Massachusetts, nearly 3 million ballots were cast which meant that 60.17% of eligible citizens voted, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
And while this is the highest midterm voter turnout since 1994, there was still 39.83% of registered voters who did not vote in the midterm election.
For 60.17% to be considered a high turnout is concerning to me as I view my right to vote as one of my greatest privileges.
It has only been 102 years since the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment which allowed women the right to vote and as a woman, I make it a point to vote in every election.
Only two generations separate myself and my paternal great-grandmother who at the time of her birth was unable to vote because of her gender. So, each time I enter a voting booth, I remember to think of the women who fought for this right because without their dedication and perseverance, I would not be able to have that opportunity.
However, I know that for many young people, they do not seem to feel the same about voting.
Within the last couple of weeks, I have heard multiple people under the age of 30 state, “I don’t vote because it doesn’t matter” and “I don’t really watch or read the news.”
And as someone who remembers being 8 years old watching the election results update on my family’s living room TV during the 2008 election, I was surprised and disappointed to hear this.
Voting is one of the ways that we can keep our democracy safe from politicians who do not have the interests of all citizens in mind.
Over just the last couple of years, in my opinion, there has been an increase in politicians who are comfortable with making hateful comments. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is an example of a politician with hatred in her heart who has made antisemitic comments on multiple occasions.
However, by going out to the polls and voting for candidates who have love in their heart and who are willingly to speak out against bigotry, we can change this country.
As of right now, Democrats are the majority in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Currently by having control of both, it makes it much simpler for the them to make progress on issues such as sexual reproductive health, LGBT+ issues, racial inequality, and other initiatives supported by the Democratic party.
But by losing just one seat to the GOP, it could stall any progress the Biden administration plans to make over the next two years before the 2024 presidential election as it would allow the GOP to block any bills that are introduced.
So, I urge each one of you who is eligible to vote to go out on Nov. 8 and rock the vote.
You owe it to yourself and future generations.