One of my favorite days of the year (OK every two years) is right around the corner. No, it is not my birthday or one of my kid’s birthdays. It is not my anniversary (but that is coming up) – it is Election Day!! I know what you might be thinking – how can this lady get excited about Election Day, but hear me out.
I admit, I am a political junkie (my husband is too!) and even my two daughters (6 and 2) know the names of the candidates for Governor, but the real reason why I love Election Day is that for 12 hours every two years the future of our nation, our state, our local communities lie in the hands of the people. On Election Day, Americans across the nation are all truly equal and everyone’s vote counts the same.
What frustrates me though is that more and more people, especially my girlfriends, tell me they are too busy to vote. To many other demands – “Rachel, I think voting is important, but I am running around all day with the kids, I just don’t think I will have time to go to the polls,” “I am with you Rachel, but I just don’t like any of the candidates and I don’t think government is doing a good job anyway,” “Rachel, I just don’t think my vote really matters.”
Those are just a few of the excuses I hear as we sit around having a glass of wine talking about the new Sex and the City movie, and it dawns on me that women find the time to hit the mall when a great sale is going on, hook up for girlfriends when a new movie comes out, or research website to find the cheapest place to buy a new designer purse, but yet when Election Day comes along every two years we (yes we!) cannot find 10 to 15 minutes to go to the polls and let our voices and our votes be heard.
There are so many ways to be part of the process. Personally, I have found voting by absentee ballot works for me so a few years ago I became a permanent absentee voter. That means whenever there is an election in my area the Registrar of Voters just sends me my ballot in the mail.
And when it’s time to vote (and being an absentee voter I can vote on my own timeline as long as my ballot is returned before Election Day), I make it a night. I tell my husband that I need an hour or two to do my civic duty, I open a bottle of wine and I turn on the laptop. If I don’t know a candidate then I Google them and see what I can find and I find that there is a lot of information out there on even the races you may not be following. I find I get to kill two birds with one stone – I get a few precious hours to myself while at the same time fulfill by civic duty by voting!
There is another reason why I think voting is so important, in my professional life I run an organization called California Women Lead. As a nonpartisan organization, our mission is to train and encourage women to run for office or apply for political appointments. I cannot tell you how many women I have met who would be GREAT elected officials, real role models for other women, but they are not in elected office, why? Because when they did run they lost, in some cases by less than 100 votes – your vote does matter!
In an effort to not sound to “preachy” I hope you will remember to cast your vote next Tuesday, June 8th. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. You can find your polling place through the Secretary of States web site at or the League of Women Voters (they also have a great nonpartisan voter guide where you can get information on candidates in your area. Smart Voter is another great resource for candidate information.
As the CEO of a women’s organization I would be remise to not mention that it this is the 90th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote – a process that took women 70 long years to achieve. So, as a political junkie, a former candidate, a former campaign worker, a mom of two, but more importantly as a woman I hope you will take 15 minutes to go to the polls on Tuesday and cast your ballot.
I don’t care who you vote for, but I hope you vote. Too much is at stake in our state and our communities for women not to take the lead and let our voice be heard. I know this weekend I will be opening up that bottle of wine and casting my ballot!!