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Opinion: Vote As If Your Life Depends On It

Because It Does

By Angela Astle, Rohini Gupta, Sharon Hwang, Kerry O’Grady and Suzie Schuckman

2020 Womxn’s March Denver Leadership Team

Not voting is a vote.

In a time when we find our human and civil rights under siege, the safety of our communities eroding around us, and the dire effects of climate change literally threatening to drown the world as we know it, not voting because one doesn’t like any of the choices is, in fact, a vote.

We have the choice to preserve the liberties that make this nation the greatest experiment of self-governance the world has ever known or to give power back to those who answer to no one but themselves. The freedoms we enjoy start and end with our vote; many have fought hard to gain and protect that right.

In the 1960s, as thousands of 18-year-old men were being drafted for war, protesters cast ballots as if their lives depended upon it. “If I’m old enough to die for my country, I should be old enough to vote in my country,” was their battle cry for suffrage. The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18.

Womxn’s fight for suffrage had a similar refrain. If dominion over our own bodies can be dictated by others in power, then we demand to have our voices reflected by those in power. (Note: The spelling of womxn is deliberate, to recognize non-binary identity designation.)

So how is it that at a time when we have more citizens with the right to vote than any other time in our country’s history and very real threats to our freedoms, many people feel that their vote won’t matter?

The Pew Research Foundation January 2019 report on early 2020 voter demographics indicated that one in 10 voters will be 18 to 23 years old, yet many haven’t registered to vote.

The same study highlights that since “older adults are more likely to turn out to vote, it’s possible that older generations will form a larger share of actual voters in 2020 than their share in the electorate. That’s what happened in 2016: even though Boomers and older generations accounted for 43 percent of eligible voters, they cast 49 percent of the ballots.”

Young people need to believe that this country belongs to them and that their voices not only matter, but will chart the path to their future and the world they inherit. In the United States, the government works for the people and we need to vote to keep it that way.

When our founding fathers declared independence from a tyrannical government that was abusing their rights, they envisioned a system of governance that would guarantee them the liberties we enjoy today and that “to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” That consent is our vote. And it matters.

There is a lot of talk about threats to our Constitution and the integrity of our republic. It is imperative we all do our part to protect the pillars on which our freedoms are based and for which many of our countrymen and womxn have fought for.

Choosing not to vote is a vote against our republic. Choosing not to vote is a vote against the liberties we hold dear. It is a vote against the right to vote. Not voting is a vote.

March with us in Denver on Jan. 18, and then visit the IMPACT EXPO at McNichols Building in Civic Center downtown to learn more about important work underway in our community including protecting our vote.

Our 2020 theme is OUR VOTE IS OUR VOICE. LET’S GET LOUD! We implore you to VOTE as if our lives depend upon it, because they do.

Womxn’s March Denver

The Fine Print

Join Womxn’s March Denver on Jan. 18, at Denver’s Civic Center Park downtown for our 4th Annual March and FREE IMPACT EXPO inside the McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 West Colfax Ave.

The event is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. While there will be no formal rally, additional free events will include a capella choirs and dancer/drummer ensembles outdoors before and after the march. 

After the march and indoors at McNichols, participants will be encouraged to connect with approximately 60 nonprofit and community groups focusing on reproductive rights, climate change, gun safety, immigration, voter registration, domestic
 violence/sexual assault assistance resources, and arts activism. 

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