Your Vote Matters

March 1, 2020

Election day is coming upon us, do you know where your vote is? If you’re keeping it in your back pocket, you may be doing yourself and those around you a civic disservice. The fact is that your vote could make all the difference in not only swaying an election, but in fulfilling your duty as a proud American citizen.

Florida is a closed primary state. This means for the Presidential Preference Primary, only voters registered as Democratic or Republican will be able to vote. The deadline to update your party affiliation was February 18th, so hopefully you are ready to vote.

Election Day is March 17th

Here are other important dates regarding Orange County elections:

  • Deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot: March 7th, 5 p.m.
  • Early Voting: March 2nd - March 15th, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Election Day: March 17th, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m

“My vote doesn’t count,” we’ve all heard the claim from nonvoters that their one vote simply doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, especially in the presidential election that is determined by the Electoral College. Not so fast, say politicians and pro-voting organizations.

Here are some important events in U.S. history that were decided by just a few votes, according to the State of Illinois:

  • Richard Nixon, not John F. Kennedy, would have become President of the U.S. in 1960 if one person from each voting place had voted differently.
  • Texas might not have become part of the United States in 1845 if one U.S. Senator had voted differently. The vote in the U.S. Senate was 27-25 to invite Texas to become a state. If it had been a tie, Texas would not have been asked to become part of the Union.

General discomfort can be a major factor in keeping many people away from the voting booth. If voting intimidates you or you need motivation in keeping it on your schedule, involve a family member or acquaintance in your planning process. Coordinate to meet the morning of the election and head to the polls together. Voting with a significant other, parent or close friend can help calm any nerves and also help you from backing out.

One of the most precious aspects of voting is just how hard people before us have fought to protect it. Think back to the early American patriots who stood up for the right to vote and literally gave their lives for that freedom. Those times may seem like they are in the distant past, but there are still many countries in the world where voting is a point of cultural oppression. You owe it to those who went before you to carry out your civic duty. The founding fathers believed that an informed electorate was necessary to maintain an effective society. Voting is a privilege and it’s something that many members of our military have fought hard to protect.

Your own personal wealth could be a driving factor in showing up to to the voter’s booth because those we elect are the ones who decide how much money to invest in public services. The county commissioners, governor, state officials, legislators, president and members of Congress you vote for also decide how to best share the tax burden. Both of these financial responsibilities should beentrusted only to candidates you have researched and deemed fit to handle them.

Americans ages 18 to 29 have much at stake in all elections, yet only 23 percent will “definitely be voting,” according to a survey by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. These young voters may have more at stake than any population in how the political process plays out over the coming decades. A study last year by the Urban Institute noted that the generation currently in and graduating from college have accumulated seven percent less wealth than their parents had at a comparable age. It estimated that today’s young Americans, the best-educated generation in U.S. history, nonetheless will lose at least 3 percent in earnings over their lifetimes, according to the study. If enhancing their personal wealth and setting up their futures for financial success will ever be important to young people, now is the time. Our youth cannot afford to sit out yet another election while letting other people make political decisions for them.

The presidential election isn’t the only one you should be fired up to influence at the ballot box. In fact, your local representatives, mayors and council members have more day-to-day impact on your life than the president. Local elected officials make decisions on policies that directly affect your taxes, home value and professional life. Your local representatives fight hard for your personal rights at the highest levels. Wages, pay equity, fairness in hiring, pension security, taxes and health insurance issues are a few of the most important aspects of your life that can be influenced by your local officials. When you vote you tell elected officials how you feel about these issues. Your vote can influence decisions on funding for schools or roads that you or family members may use every day.

As Americans, we can do better. Only 60 percent of the voting eligible population heads to the polls during presidential election years, according to the Center for Voting and Democracy. This number drops to 40 percent during midterm elections. So where do we rank as Americans? In Australia, Belgium and Chile more than 90 percent of voters, vote. And in Austria, Sweden, Italy more than 80 percent. It's time to let your voice be heard, show up on Election Day, March 17th and VOTE!

Latest Issue

This article is from our March 2020 issue. It is out now and available for download.

Community Events

Nature of the Game at Leu Gardens

January 1, 2020

A new fun and interactive exhibit is here at Leu Gardens from now thru April 5, 2020. This incredible exhibit is taking some of our favorite childhood games to an all new level. Nature of the Game was created in collaboration with Reiman Gardens and Iowa State University Architecture lecturer and artist, Reinaldo Correa, and his interdisciplinary team of design and engineering students. This amazing hands-on experience takes childhood games and turning them into fun discoveries about the wonders of nature. All ages will have a "ball" playing! Are you game? Admission to Nature of the Game exhibit is included with daytime garden admission: $10 adult, $5 child (ages 4- 17 years) and free admission for Leu Members.

Neighborhood Fun and Games

March 26, 2020

11 am to 2 pm. Bring just yourself or come with friends, cards and board games if you have favorites, and a brown bag lunch and beverage. All are welcome; suggested donation $5 per person. Held at the Pine Castle Woman’s Club, 5901 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. For further information call 407- 852-1728.

3rd Annual Quilt Show

March 28, 2020

9 am to 2 pm. The Mary Martha Sewing Group of First United Church of Christ is holding its 3rd Annual Quilt Show featuring new and antique quilts as well as handmade items, a bake sale and refreshments! Admission to the show is $5. Join us at the First United Church of Christ; 4605 Curry Ford Rd; Orlando, FL 32812.

Cornerstone Band and Chorus Spring Concert

April 2, 2020

6pm Join us in the Cornerstone auditorium. Admission is $5. Children under 10 and adults over 65 get in free. Join us for a program filled with royalty-related repertoire including music by Elvis, Aretha Franklin, and more!

Easter Eggstravaganza & Craft Fair

April 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020 from 10 AM - 2 PM First Baptist Church of Pine Castle 1001 Hoffner Avenue Craft & Business vendors, Food Trucks, games, bounce houses, crafts and Easter egg hunts for the kids!! There is no cost to attend the event!

Youth Rummage Sale

April 4, 2020

8 am – 2 pm Come and shop our rummage sale at Conway United Methodist Church's in Family Life Center located at 3401 Conway Rd.