What motivates you to vote? Seriously. It’s no secret that Mid-Term Elections historically have low voter turnout. In the upcoming election, on Tuesday, November 8, there are significant issues on the ballot that can motivate you to get out and vote.
Nationally, here are several: women’s reproductive rights, inflation and democracy. Yes, democracy because we still have people, even public officials, who deny the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. All kinds of changes have been made in many states in the name of election reform even when changes were not needed (like here in Florida). When we select certain people to fill seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, we align with most of what they stand for. It’s not hard to research where frontrunners in the Senate race stand. You can “Goggle” them: Senator Marco Rubio (R) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D).
In Florida, there’s even more on the ballot that could motivate people to go out and vote: affordable housing/homeowners insurance, gun reform and minimum wage increase. I mean, for the most part, people are working or have opportunities to work but wages haven’t kept up with inflation, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Again, who we select as leaders, especially as governor which is on the ballot, will determine if we can get more money in our pay check, for example. (Note: Current Gov. Ron DeSantis in the past opposed a constitutional amendment to raise the state minimum to $15 a hour by 2026. Congressman Charlie Crist co-sponsored a House bill that would raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2025. In 2020, Florida voters approved that Florida amendment that DeSantis opposed. We now have annual minimum wage increases until it reaches $15 by 2026. It got started in September 2021 at $10 an hour.)
In Orange County, residents are looking at an increase in local taxes for transportation and transit improvements. The proposed surtax will be in place for 20 years. That’s on the ballot. Here’s something else on the ballot that can motivate folk to get out and vote especially if they are renting an apartment: A “Rent Stabilization Ordinance to Limit Rent Increases for Certain Residential Rental Units.” I know somebody is praying for the ordinance to pass because there is no rhyme nor reason for the exorbitant rent increases throughout Central Florida. I mean they are exorbitant! Many people are living with two or three people to pay rent and survive.
There is so much that could be said historically on why all of us should STAY READY, MOTIVATED to vote. We don’t have to look far to see the injustices done to Black Americans who were just trying to vote. Women had to fight for the right to vote. Thank God, we’ve come a long way as a country and God knows we’ve got a long way to go. I had to take it there because I think we forget that treating people equally and taking care of the “least of these” is our responsibility as children of God.
Whatever motivates you to participate in the process – voting and holding public officials accountable – I encourage you: just do it. Your vote is your voice!
– Trish Marshall, Founder & Editor, Orlando Community News
Orlando Community News, 2022