This Friday is National Muslim Voter Registration Day! CAIR Oklahoma is partnering with My Muslim Vote to register people to vote before and after Jumah prayer at Islamic Centers across Oklahoma!
But why care? Why register? Why vote if not for the fun sticker?
Most importantly, why should I, as a Muslim in America, be concerned?
People often say voting is your civic duty as a citizen and tout all the noble reasons people need to get out and vote. These are all fair and true, but the importance and the value run deeper than that.
Here are a few reasons why we should all prioritize registering to vote, updating our voter registration, and voicing our votes at the poll.
The United States has a long history of disenfranchisement or depriving someone of a right or privilege, such as voting. This, however, is not an issue of the past and is still ongoing across our country today. Voter disenfranchisement, particularly with the justice system involved individuals is deeply rooted in race and region following the Civil War and the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. This dark and bloody history still resonates today with the disproportionate number of incarcerated people of color, and it continues to perpetuate voter disenfranchisement to voters both behind bars and beyond.
People of color, women, justice system-involved individuals, and other minority groups are still being barred from their right to access the polls equitably and safely. This past election saw many accounts nationwide of polling places closing early, difficulty accessing ballots, and many issues pushing people away from their ability to vote.
It takes courage to vote, and due to the ongoing struggle for many disenfranchised groups, it is crucial to get out and vote every chance. Vote for those being denied their right and vote for those who have risked their lives to ensure everyone has the access they deserve.
Voting is more than a sticker and a slip of paper. It is the foundation of our country that has been continually warped and tainted by centuries of abuse. Vote to use your voice and keep people accountable for this enshrined right.
Voting is a time to show what matters to you. It is essential to research candidates, questions, and initiatives on the ballot beforehand and see how they align with your personal beliefs. Political discourse has become increasingly divisive and hate-filled. These are vital times to get out and vote and show whether you stand for issues surrounding racism, discrimination, and bigotry.
All elections matter, whether primaries, midterms, or in-between. Showing up consistently is a faith-driven value that works. It is an opportunity to show communities and electorates what you and your community are made of and what you stand for.
Every vote counts! Especially in Oklahoma, where voter turnout is low. People often say their vote does not matter depending on party affiliation, but that is NOT true. A handful of votes wins many candidate races because so few people vote.
Elections are decided by those who make plans, mark their ballots, and use their voice. Only let decisions be made with your voice being heard. Passing it off to a busy schedule or minimal importance is easy. However, attitudes like that only accumulate and encourage others to do the same, and then entire elections are decided without any impact on your community.
Make a plan! Show up and encourage others to do the same. There are always options, such as absentee ballot, to work with any schedule. Each election year is an opportunity to impact the policies that shape our future.
Voting can impact your community in many ways. While it shows your values and what matters to you, it can also uplift your community. Using your voice at the polls helps to support those around you.
Vote for your family, friends, and others who may be unable to vote due to immigration status, age, or incarceration. It is essential to acknowledge your situation may be different for everyone in your community. A rising tide lifts all boats, and it is invaluable to support those who may not be able to support themselves.
While voting may be a singular activity and only count once, your vote can carry a widespread impact to help everyone in your community and more.
We need candidates who hear and represent our communities fairly and are concerned about education, cities, and our community. We can only ensure this by holding them accountable through elections.
While voting can become personal and emotional, at the end of the day, it is also about money. Everyone pays taxes. Where this money goes and how it is used is decided through voting! Whether it is a direct question on the ballot or via a candidate who will then hold that vote at the State Capitol, money is decided through voting.
Most people would not show up to a grocery store, restaurant, or gas station and let someone decide how much you will pay. So why do that at the polls? Voting is a chance to voice how you want your money spent in your home and for your community.
This Friday, September 15th, is National Muslim Voter Registration Day! If you are not registered yet, come visit us at local mosques or register online.
Check out My Muslim Vote to register, update, and get reminders on voting!