April 27, 2023

Chair's Corner

This comes with a friendly but urgent request for All Seniors in Democrats Abroad to vote in the upcoming election. There are 9 million Americans abroad and our votes can make the difference, but sometimes Americans abroad are stymied by the process. Please defend Democracy. Please VOTE. Request your absentee ballot at VoteFromAbroad. 

American law does not require citizens to vote, but voting is a particularly important part of any democracy. By voting, citizens are participating in the democratic process. Citizens vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas, and the leaders support the citizens' interests. As Seniors, we surely need these kinds of leaders. 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. We need to protect democracy, Social Security, women’s reproductive rights, Medicare and to move to eliminate WEP.

I was looking around online for voting information and found this helpful California site, AltaMed, which published five reasons why we should vote:

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…. 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 left to the states in the 1800s. While voting is no longer explicitly excluded for some citizens, 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 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   another, 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 for additional funding for health care and social services, issues that are particularly important for Seniors. This happens through your vote on specific propositions and ballot measures, and when you vote to elect candidates committed to supporting key social services in your community.

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, and public education. 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.

Thanks to fellow US Senior citizens around the globe.

PS - Remember to Write and call your Members of Congress to ask them to help repeal WEP.