I am registered as Non-Party Affiliated (NPA), meaning there are some elections in which I cannot cast a vote.
That also means that “One Person, One Vote” does not always apply to me.
I’m sometimes left wondering: Does me not choosing Republican or Democrat mean I’m not an American living in this country, in this state, in this county, in this district, in this neighborhood?
I registered as a Democrat a long time ago and stayed with it for many years to avoid this issue. But a couple of years ago, I had a conversation with my son regarding voting—from when and how to who and why.
We didn’t fight or argue, we had a conversation.
It was an open-hearted and open-minded one. And after that conversation, after years of reluctantly identifying via registration as a Democrat, I decided to change my party to NPA.
That is the best representation of my views and beliefs: to vote for who and what I feel is best for America.
By the people, for the people—right?
I am one of those people and I believe I deserve to vote anytime there is an election. I live in Florida and there are two Democratic candidates running for governor. I do not want Ron DeSantis to continue as governor, however, I can’t vote for the Democrat I want on the ballot in November because I am registered NPA. But I would rather act on what best reflects me than cave to choosing between Republican or Democrat.
If enough people choose to register as something other than the two controlling parties, that ripple could create a change. That ripple could help build a bridge.
I’ve been voting for 30 years. In times like these, I want to regress and switch back so that I have a voice in the races I can’t vote due to my NPA status. But another reason why I switched my status is in hopes that numbers increase so that funds are available to candidates from other parties who want to run. Especially when it comes to politics, things are never just red or blue.
Unfortunately, a growing trend I’ve seen and heard is: “Why vote? It doesn’t count.” And I understand the theory, to a point. It has been perpetuated through presidential races from the hanging chads incident in the 2000 election and the January 6 committee hearings. But I grew up pre-internet so when I had to do book reports in school, I used physical encyclopedias, grabbed the “S” book, and did a lot of reports on Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This led me to learn about other women who fought for equal rights and left me with a strong sense of duty to vote, stand up, and use my voice.
There is so much more to voting than just casting your ballot for president. And it’s just as important—maybe even more so—to vote for local and state candidates and issues.
Vote Local! Shop Local! Eat Local! Local Matters!
Where is your vote going? What does that person want to do along the commute you take every day, in your community, and in your backyard?
At times, I haven’t voted yes or no for a judge to retain their seat. If I didn’t feel educated enough about the candidates, then I skipped it on my ballot. Due to current events surrounding judges, this time I will do my research and make an informed vote about who should stay or go.
Amendments can also be difficult to vote on because the legal jargon can be as tough as cutting through a well-done steak. I find it helpful to read the amendments, read about them, and learn others’ opinions. I try to consider an overall layered picture of their effects so I can make an educated vote. And I encourage others to do their research. It’s pretty easy to do a search and read a few respectful pieces regarding the amendment.
But however you prepare and however you’re registered, please—for the love of whatever you believe in—vote!