Get excited because 22 million people have already voted!
Enthusiasm gap? What enthusiasm gap? Whatever pundits meant at the beginning of the summer can’t possibly be explained by what’s happening all over the country right now. Over 22 million people have already cast their ballot in this year’s election–that’s more than the estimated populations of Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, D.C., Vermont and Wyoming–combined. And we’re so amped about it.
Get excited! Because of YOU, the candidates representing both major parties in the US presidential election are talking about affordable child care and paid leave. Both. Major. Parties.
We’re not sure you understand the gravity of what you’ve done. We’ve still got a way to go to push the next President–and down-ballot elected officials–on comprehensive policy that truly centers families . But, literally, like just last year, 2015 (remember that?)–it was harder than we’d care to admit to find Congresspeople that would even clap for paid leave, let alone devise any sliver of a policy plan. Then, you came along and shut that shamefulness down. Thank you.
Get excited because Rep. John Lewis really wants you to. (You do know John Lewis, right?)
Today is #NationalVoterRegistrationDay – I was beaten, left bloody & unconscious so that every person could register and vote. Do your part.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) September 27, 2016
Here is Rep. John Lewis kindly asking you to get into some good trouble. Allow us to explain exactly what it means for John Lewis to ask you to do anything–especially when it comes to voting. Here is John Lewis, literally, being beaten by a state trooper on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965–one of the seminal events that quickened the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here is John Lewis, again, in 2013 fighting back against the disenfranchisement of an entire new generation of real people in America. Here is John Lewis cutting a rug because “Happy” is his jam. Do you really think you can stand to tell Rep. John Lewis anything except “Thank you”, “I voted” and “I’m ecstatic about casting my ballot”? Yeah. We didn’t think so.
Get excited because you don’t have to fight for the 19th Amendment–it’s already here!
We can’t speak for the folks who started that horrid hashtag a few weeks ago (that shall not be named!), but we’re super grateful for the fact that that nonsense is nothing but noise. We’re even more grateful for all the ladies who withstood jail time, beatings, and unwelcome globs of saliva so that the first women could cast their ballots. Despite racism within the movement to pass the 19th Amendment, all of these brave women still fought for the integrity of your vote. Nothing says, “Thanks for damn-near dying, foremothers!” like getting out the vote.
Get excited because Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe helped restore voting rights to 13,000 ex-offenders this summer–and that’s a really big deal.
In spring 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced an ambitious order to restore the voting rights of over 200,000 ex-offenders in his state. The state supreme court would not, however, abide McAuliffe’s ambition, and ruled that the act exceeded his authority as governor. So, instead, Gov. McAuliffe filed 13,000 individual orders to restore the voting rights of ex-offenders whose registration was invalidated after the court’s decision. Here’s why that’s so huge: Thanks to the unreal expansion of the U.S. criminal justice system, 1 in 40 adults have lost their right to vote. That number jumps to 1 in 13 for African American ex-offenders. African Americans are woefully overrepresented in Virginia’s prisons. That’s why it’s perfectly okay to get amped that Gov. McAuliffe would even attempt to pass such a sweeping executive order.
Get excited about taking your best selfie yet! Take a #FamilyVote selfie from OUTSIDE the polls!
The only selfie (or we-fie!) that matters this week is the one with your “I Voted” sticker in clear view. After you’ve cast your ballot for the Presidency and all your local races, stand outside of your polling place and show off for the ‘Gram, for Twitter, for Facebook, for YouTube, for Snapchat–for the world–(#RIPVine): you voted. Duck faces, b-boy stances, peace signs, and loving, respectful displays that celebrate our democracy are all absolutely allowed.
Get excited, because November 9 is the day after tomorrow.
Whatever happens tomorrow, there will be a day after tomorrow. Rejoice! You just survived one of the most incredible–and we mean that in every sense of the word–election cycles in American history. However fleeting, revel in this moment of truth and prepare for the next round: holding your newly elected officials accountable!