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Why We Vote

The right to vote is a sacred right, but the fight to secure that right never ends.

Some life events leave a permanent, vivid picture in our memories. One of mine is voting in my first election after turning 18 years old. I remember standing in line at our neighborhood recreation center, where I’d grown up playing ping pong and basketball. On Election Day, it was transformed into that most important civic institution, an American polling place.

I remember pulling the curtain behind me in the oversized voting machine. I can still see my hand on the levers. Some say the old lever voting machines remain among the most reliable. It sure seemed solid and dependable to me that day.

Early voting begins in Texas on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and runs through Friday, Oct. 30. I’m betting all the 18-year-olds who cast their ballots for the first time will remember the experience just as I have.

Given the stakes in 2020, it’s probably true that everyone will remember casting their ballots this year. I’ve been involved in public life and politics for some decades now, and for the first time I sense that most Americans won’t need much urging to go vote.

While it’s true that President Trump and his allies around the country are doing what they can to suppress voting, I think we will vote in numbers that make a mockery of any barriers they place in our way.

The right to vote is a sacred right, but the fight to secure that right never ends. The most potent weapon against voter suppression is the vote itself. Voting is an acknowledgment of our shared power and our shared fate. It is also an act of defiance against those who would deny what we share.

There are very few things a person can do that accomplish what the vote accomplishes. In a real sense, democracy is reborn in every free and open election. Our civic lives within a democracy are secured by our participation.

These are reasons many of us remember casting our first and even subsequent ballots. Standing in line to vote, we see the faces of our neighbors, our fellow citizens, and it’s obvious that they regard voting with all the civic pride and love that we do.

People fought and died so we can vote. Maybe that’s said so often it seems like a cliché. The lives lost in the ongoing struggle for true, universal suffrage are anything but clichés. They are democracy’s first responders, and so are we when we cast our ballots. It is why we vote.

Visit GoVoteTexas.org and make a plan to vote today.