The coming US elections will have ripple effects throughout the entire world. Here are five reasons why you should go out and VOTE on November 8th.
Millions of Americans can’t vote for the President of the United States.
3.5 million American Citizens who reside in Puerto Rico do not have the right to vote in the US elections. This means that 3.5 million Americans rely on you to vote wisely as they have no representation, but are just as affected by the decisions made in the White House as the next American citizen. Furthermore, there are 165,125 Americans in Guam, 55,165 in American Samoa, 194,737 in the US Virgin Islands. That makes roughly 3,825,027 Americans who depend on YOU to make this decision for them. These Americans are counting on you to elect their next President.
Women and African Americans rallied for years to obtain the right to vote.
Women in the US did not have the right to cast a ballot until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was finally made law. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Staton, Lucy Burns and Alice Paul endured ridicule and even torture to bring women the right to vote in the US elections. Women from the National Women’s Party were violently accosted in parades and force-fed in prison for going on hunger strikes.
African Americans were given the right to vote with the coming of the 15th Amendment. However, when the elections came, many poll centers falsely required African Americans to undergo literacy tests and other ridiculous impediments so that they would not vote. They were sometimes even flatly denied entry into the poll centers. It was not until 1965 when the US passed the Voting Rights Act that prohibited any such impediments at the voting polls that African Americans were finally given full rights to elect their President.
The voter turnout in 2012 was only 57.5% of the US population.
Even though Guam cannot vote in the US elections, the citizens of this amazing Island hold a presidential election every year, called a straw poll. Their votes do not count; however, voter turnout in the Guam US elections is an almost 70%. In other words, there is a higher percentage of voters willing to cast a ballot in Guam than in the United States where the ballot counts. Don’t be a statistic! Go VOTE!
The next President of the United States will be making decisions such as selecting the next Supreme Court Justice, deciding on women’s reproductive rights, and making rulings on LGBT rights.
One of the most important decisions our next President will be making is the election of the next Supreme Court Justice. The Supreme Court Justices are in charge of making some of the most crucial decisions in US history, like Brown vs. The Board of Education, which eliminated African American segregation in schools, or Roe vs. Wade which was the case responsible for giving women the right to legally terminate their pregnancies. So the person we elect for President of the United States will elect the next Justice they believe best represent their ideals—which can have amazing or devastating effects on our rights and laws. Casting our votes is the first step to ensuring our rights.
There are 5 million Puerto Ricans living in the US mainland, making it the second-largest Hispanic group in the US after Mexicans.
What this means is that Puerto Rican voters can swing states like Michigan, Florida and Ohio! These millions of Puerto Ricans can help decide the future of the United States of America just by showing up to the polling booths. You have the ability to influence current policies and the history of the US, which is a big deal considering that the Puerto Ricans living on the Island have no say when it comes to the people who write our laws and defend our rights.
What are your biggest concerns regarding the United States? Are you concerned with the environment? Are you uneasy about the state of Puerto Rico? Make your voice be heard! Electing the right officials that represent your views is the first step. Get involved with your candidates by writing letters and showing them what drives your interests. Find out what their thoughts are regarding your concerns. You might be surprised to learn the initiatives they are taking to help the environment, low-income communities, and the economy. Now that you know the five reasons why you should VOTE on November 8th, share this with your friends and family! Let’s get voter turnout up to 100%! Together, we can ensure that our voice is heard.
Viviana Del Manzano
Puerto Rico Global Blogger & Contributor