At the Pioneer, we like to celebrate leaders and innovators. People who are shaking up the status quo and working towards a better world. People who are using their voices to fight for the issues they care about. People who care about their community and the world surrounding it.
Today, on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, it’s not hard to be a pioneer.
You just need to be a voter.
In an exhausting political climate like this, it can be hard to stay active and engaged. We all feel the news cycle fatigue and look forward to a time when a news update on our phones won’t make us flinch like a boxer expecting the next punch. It can feel easy to tune out and stay home.
But you know what’s even easier than apathy? Voting.
To learn more about what brought people to the polls today, we went to Venable Elementary to meet some of the voters of VA-5 who are standing up and casting their ballots for the change they want to see in the world.
Emily, UVA Student
“I’ve spent the last year studying in China, so I think what really motivated me this year is recognizing that this is not a right that everybody has around the world. It’s really important for people to be involved and care about the difference that their voice can make.”
Sade, UVA Student
“I came out to vote because I know that it is a privilege. I see it as an act of us caring about our civic duty. There are people around the world who are fighting and dying to vote. The least we could do is actually go out, vote, and exercise that right…I see this as the first act of change and embodying the change that we see and want to become.”
“What inspires me to vote is that my father immigrated here from Iraq. That’s the big inspiration. He and my grandparents and that whole side of the family became citizens and really appreciate all the rights they have in this country. I feel honored that I get to do that without having to immigrate here from Iraq.” – Gabby, Charlottesville Resident
Bob, Charlottesville Resident
“Everybody says every election is the most important in their lifetime. I’m 73 years old and this is without a doubt the most important election in my lifetime. It’s such a treat to see all the young people come out and be part of this process because this is going to be your country for the next 60, 70 years. It’s raining now but a rainstorm has never stopped a tsunami. From what I see, this is a record-setting turnout not just for Venable but I think also for the Charlottesville community.”
Sarah and Seth with future voters Theo and Lou, Charlottesville Residents
“We are here to vote because we think it’s important to make some changes to our current administration and representation. And we wanted a sticker, right? And voting is really important because it makes our voices heard, isn’t it Lou?” -Sarah
“What happens [when citizens become too apathetic to vote] is that candidates only have to talk to people who are not apathetic which are often extreme in some way or another or have their own interests. And then the people who are apathetic don’t have get interests represented. When you get disengaged, we all lose.” -Seth
“Everybody should vote. It’s the most important things there is today. There was one time we couldn’t even vote so take advantage of it now. The most exciting vote I ever cast was for Obama. That was a milestone. I worked the poles all night. I went home and wanted to wait up to hear what the results were but I was just so exhausted. But it was an exciting time for me and all black people. The first black president.” -Yvonna, Charlottesville Resident
Saajid, UVA Student
“As a college student, I know that the voter turnout rate among students and millennials is extremely low. It’s important we pick those rates up because we are just as important as any other segment of the population. Our voices deserve to be heard and voting is the easiest way to do that. There are a lot of issues that are important to me but one that I think affects a lot of college students is higher education funding. Who is in the government and who is passionate enough to vote has an impact on how much tuition we are paying.”
Ellie, UVA Student
“Voting is important because it shows that we all have a voice. There are a lot of people in this country that can’t vote, especially people that are undocumented. My best friend, who is a DACA student, can’t vote because she is not a citizen. For me, casting my vote is casting a vote for her as well. That is why it’s important to me.”
“I remember, the first time I voted I went to my car and teared up a little bit. I think that a lot of people around the world don’t get this right and I think a lot of people in this country need people who vote in their interests too. Sometimes it’s easy to get upset about what’s going on in the world and to be able to do something about it by casting a ballot is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, it’s about what ballots are cast.” -Hannah, UVA Student
Miles, UVA Student
“I voted because I want to increase the statistic of how many young people vote during non-presidential elections. That was the reason. Voting is only 20 minutes of your time and if you have a chance at making any sort of impact, you might as well. What else are you doing?”
“I voted because it’s something to do. I can, I have the right, I’m a citizen. It’s your duty and it’s your right.“-Kelly, UVA Student