NBC12 Viewpoint: Why I vote

NBC12 Viewpoint: Why I vote

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - I can’t remember not ever voting. I was really excited the first time I was able to go behind the curtain, mark my ballot and pull the lever. My old school people know what I mean.

But why do we vote? For some of us, the answer is easy and for others, they still haven’t found their, “why.”

I vote because people risked their lives and the lives of their families to have the Voter Rights Act of 1965 enacted into law. The Voter Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark piece of federal legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in voting. For many Americans, this has never been an issue, but for far too many people of color, voter suppression has been a part of our nation’s history.

For many people, this may be hard to believe, but in many states, counties and cities, the local government required their black citizens to do things like guess how many jelly beans were in a jar, pay a poll tax, name every state in the union, name every former president in the United States, or name ever county in a state and then after all of that they still might not be allowed to vote. This was one of the most severe forms of voter suppression.

You may remember that it wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving white women in the United States the right to vote. What that means is that before 1920, many of your grandmothers did not have the right to vote. It was women across this nation who fought as if their lives depended on it to gain the right to vote. It truly was a man’s world.

I believe that every time we cast our vote, we are honoring or ancestors and saying thank you! Thank you for thinking about me when you didn’t even know me.

So, what is your, “why?” If you don’t plan on voting, send me an email at kgrinnage@nbc12.com. I’ll help you find your, “why.”

For more information about voting in Virginia go to: NBC12.com and click on Decision 2020.

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