The 2022 midterm elections are fast approaching. These elections hold tremendous importance, and the results will impact every American. That’s why it’s essential to vote.
This year’s election, held nationally on Tuesday, November 8, goes beyond who will represent us in Congress. Voters will also elect representatives at the state, county, and city levels. Additionally, your vote will determine how California and its cities will move forward on important propositions, including reproductive rights, women's health, and other health care-related issues.
Here are five reasons why you should register to vote, vote early, and vote often:
1. Elections have consequences. Every vote matters.
You have the power to make key decisions on the quality of life you want for yourself, your family, and your community. Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues you care about like affordable housing, economic justice, environmental protection, and quality education.
While Presidential or other national elections draw significant attention, midterm and local elections typically see less voter turnout. A Portland State University study found that fewer than 15% of eligible voters were turning out to vote for Mayors, Council Members, and other local offices.
Low turnout means that important local issues are determined by a limited group of voters, making a single vote even more statistically meaningful. While certain propositions may be popular, and therefore seem like a sure thing, they can fail if people stay home.
2. It’s your right. Not voting is giving up your voice.
Today, most American citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote in federal and state elections, but voting was not always a right for all Americans.
Because the Constitution did not specifically say who could vote, this question was largely left to the states in the 1800s. While no longer explicitly excluded, voter suppression is a problem in many parts of the country.
It was not until the 15th Amendment was passed in 1869 that black men were allowed to vote. But even so, many would-be voters faced measures meant to discourage them from exercising that right. This would continue until the 24th Amendment in 1964, which eliminated the poll tax, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ended Jim Crow laws. Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, when the long efforts of the women’s suffrage movement finally resulted in the 19th Amendment.
Later, in 1971, the American voting age was lowered to 18, building on the idea that if a person was old enough to serve their country in the military, they should be allowed to vote.
It took many years of marching, protesting, and fighting for all of us to have the right to vote. Use your right. Exert your power.
3. It's your money.
One way or the other, every person in our community pays taxes – both citizens and non-citizens. And yet, most people don’t know how that money is being used. Voting is your chance to choose how your tax dollars are spent, such as additional funding for health care and social services. This happens both through your vote on specific propositions and ballot measures, as well as those we elect to leadership positions that commit to supporting key social services in our communities.
4. Voting is an opportunity for change.
Do you want to make a positive impact in your community? Voting gives you that chance! There are many social issues affected by elections, including (but not limited to) gay marriage, reproductive rights, environmental issues, public education, etc. Social issues affect everyone in one way or another. To have a say in who gets to determine social agendas, it’s essential to vote.
5. The community depends on you!
Our communities are made up of family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, and children. Some may not know how important voting is, while others cannot vote. Make the decision to vote to be a voice for yourself and those around you.
Make sure your voice is heard – your vote is your health. Vote!
Being the change you want to see.
Help make a difference in your community during this general election and join our us in the My Vote. My Health.™ initiative. By visiting our website, you can check your registration status, voting locations, and download other resources to help get out the vote in your community.
In the June 2022 primary election, we reached over 209,000 new and low propensity Latino voters in our Orange County and Los Angeles County AltaMed service areas. We also hosted a total of 17 voting locations at various clinic sites.
If you do not quality to vote, you can still participate.
If you are not yet 18 (if you are at least 16 years of age you can pre-register to vote in the state of California), or are not a United States citizen, you can still participate in the following ways:
- Get informed. Read up on issues (both local and national) and figure out where you stand. Our partners at the League of Women Voters and California Plus Health Advocates both offer helpful information about what to expect on this year’s ballot.
- Get out and talk to people. Even if you cannot vote, you can still voice opinions in public forums. When people engage each other about the issues, we stand to become better-informed citizens.
- Volunteer. You can work with outreach campaigns by volunteering to get out the vote in your community through phone banks, door-to-door outreach, and texting. To volunteer at AltaMed, click here.