By Samantha Arthur
Pictured: Samantha, center, with Kadijah Ndoye (left) and Sarah Brokenborough, fellow students from Spelman College.
On my 18th birthday I had several plans—one being to complete an application to vote and obtain my voter ID card. To me, voting was an example of my political power: through this system I would have a voice and hopefully make a difference. The only hang-up I faced was that I had no idea where to start. It wasn’t until two years later that I completed my absentee ballot and cast my first vote. Although I understood the significance of voting, my progress was stunted because I was not informed.
A person’s vote is their right as a citizen. I would like to aid in the process of informing people of the process and importance. So on September 24, 2013 I along with 9to5 Georgia Director Charmaine Davis and Lutheran Volunteer Sarah Swearer, “hit the streets” and participated in National Voter Registration Day. Non-partisan organizations and volunteers reached out nationwide to strengthen their communities by organizing a registration drives. 9to5 Atlanta took our outreach to the West End at the MARTA station. As a student I enjoyed speaking with members of my community, engaging with them and expressing the importance of voting.
The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington was celebrated in August of this year. The issues of 1963 are still relevant seeing how sections of the Voter’s Rights Act were ruled unconstitutional in June of 2013. Voting procedures in some states now have restrictions that negatively effect minority voters.
State elections are incredibly important. On Tuesday, November 5th you can cast your ballot to vote for those running for Mayor, City Council President, City Council members, members of the Board of Education and be Municipal Court Judges.
Encourage your neighbors and the members in your communities to check their status as voters and register to vote. If there are any changes that you would like to see, cast your vote. It’s a representation of your voice as a citizen.