You should vote

Darlene Williams , Campus Voice

Darlene Williams graduated from CSUB in spring 2022.

One of the most guaranteed forms of speaking truth to power and ensuring that your voice is heard is by going to the polls to vote. I want to share with you why voting is still one of our most powerful tools for change, to not fall for the message that It doesn’t make a difference, and to share the projection for the future.  

So, I ask you, have voted in the last year? Do you know that your vote is of utmost importance and could be the deciding factor in who is elected to represent you in the Senate, the White House, your local community and even CSUB?   

I hope that this opinion piece will leave you enlightened and motivated to vote and to never miss an opportunity to use your voice through voting whether locally or statewide.  

I remember years ago running into a friend on the city bus, before I had a car. She and I attended High School together and had just a few months prior to our meeting graduated. She shared with me that she had just become a registered voter. At that moment I saw her as all grown up, confident and important. I was instantly inspired to become a registered voter. I was 18 years old.  

Becoming a registered voter and getting my driver’s license were some of the most empowering moments in my life. Being able to participate in the election process was the American way to use my vote to amplify my voice for the change I wanted to see. 

Candidates that I voted for did not always win, but I never had a “what if moment” wondering if only I had voted would things be different.  

Your vote can make the difference in the kinds of books and learning materials used in K-12 curriculum, colleges, and universities. Your vote is instrumental in implementing changes in your community and neighborhood and it is the process used for selecting police chiefs, judges, mayors, officials and so much more. 

There is a quote that states, “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”  I am proud to say that I have used my voice loudly by voting out “stupid,” stupid people, stupid laws, and stupid policies and procedures. And, I have also used that same volume to replace those spaces with people who support the rule of democracy. This could only be accomplished by the power of my vote.  

From the 1980’s to the present, I have that same sense of empowerment every time I show at the polls to exercise my right to vote. After reading this, my hope is that IF you are not a registered voter, you WILL make a conscious decision to become a registered voter and vote like your future depends on it, because it does.  

Voting is still one of our most powerful tools for change. As seen in the 2008 presidential elections, did change ever happen that year? Yes, it did! Senator, Barack Obama made history when he became America’s first African American President.  

According to, “Obama was also the first sitting U.S. senator to win election to the presidency since John F. Kennedy in 1960. With the highest voter turnout rate in four decades, Obama and Delaware senator Joe Biden defeated the Republican ticket John McCain who sought to become the oldest person elected president to a first term in U.S. history, and Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who attempted to become the first woman vice president in the country’s history, winning nearly 53 percent of the vote.”   

If you fail to vote, you fail to speak. When you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.   

I believe that we responsible for the changes that we want to see, especially when we have an opportunity to vote for that change. Your voice is as only as powerful as your vote. Just in case you don’t know, one vote; your vote, can make the entire difference in the outcome of any election.  

According to National Geographic Society, “In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush. Because Bush won the election by such a small margin … it triggered an automatic recount and a Supreme Court case (Bush vs. Gore). Bush won by only 000.9 percent of the votes which equated to 537 votes in that state … If six hundred more supporters of Gore had gone to the polls in Florida that day, the outcome would have been different.”  

A Portland State University study found that fewer than 15 percent 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. 

John Freeman, stated,” Were people to vote at higher percentages, power would lose. So, the vote itself has come under attack.” 

Moreover, with all the negative rhetoric floating around about voting, it is challenging not to be swept away by the constant waves of lies and misinformation to deter people from voting, but don’t fall for the lie that it doesn’t make a difference. 

In the article, “Voter Suppression in 2020”,” Racial discrimination in voting takes many forms, ranging from blatant and open attempts to restrict access to voting among communities of color to more subtle policies that place heavier burdens on certain communities. In 2020, voters of color faced the full spectrum of racial voter suppression.” 

According to the Atlantic, “Some 35 percent of Americans—including 68 percent of Republicans—believe the Big Lie, pushed relentlessly by former President Donald Trump and amplified by conservative media, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.” 

The election wasn’t stolen, but rather, Americans showed up at the polls and just voted “stupid” out.  

Finally, the projection for the future is that Gen Z and Millennial voters will outnumber previous generations. According to the article, “The GOP’s Demographic Doom: Millennials and Gen Z are only a few years away from dominating the electorate”, “In 2020, for the first time Millennials and Gen Z (which comprise young adults born in 1981 or later) will equal Baby Boomers and prior generations … as a share of all Americans eligible to vote, according to a new study from … States of Change project.” 

According to the article, “Young Voters Were Crucial to Biden’s Win”, “Across the country, young voters of color … cast ballots for Biden, including 87 percent of young Black voters, 83 percent of young Asian voters, and 73 percent of young Latino voters. The white you vote also favored Biden, but more narrowly, at 51 percent.”  

As I conclude, why vote you might say? Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  

Your future matters; vote for it!