There was a time I stood on the sidelines and let others make choices for me. I didn’t want to “waste” my time going to a polling place to cast a ballot. In my early 20s, I thought, “What’s one vote going to matter?”
Now in my 40-somethings, I have a different perspective: One vote does matter. Your vote matters. My vote matters. On Nov. 3, I’m going to vote, just like I’ve done over the last 20-plus years.
To vote, however, you have to be registered, and the deadline to register in Indiana is Oct. 5. Register to vote in Indiana or check to see if you are registered.
Voting always is important, but I don’t recall in my lifetime a more significant moment for voting than this year. Our country continues to battle a pandemic that’s taken the lives of more than 3,000 Hoosiers and inflicted another 90,000. Nearly 1,000 additional people across Indiana test positive daily.
We are experiencing civil unrest I have not experienced in my lifetime, and there is a feeling of hopelessness for so many. We need clear direction for combatting the systematic racism that is tearing our country apart.
These two issues weigh heavy on me personally and as the leader of the largest local community-based organization serving our most vulnerable citizens – older adults and those of any age with disabilities. These people have a voice, but they also need us to advocate on their behalf for greater access to quality medical care and in-home services.
Issues affecting older adults and people with disabilities
Voting is – and should be – personal. It should be done based on the candidates who best represent and fight for the things that are important to you. Here’s my request: Please vote, but please be an informed voter. Ask questions.
If you’re like me and are concerned about funding for Medicare and Medicaid as well as access to long-term care, ask the candidates what they plan to do. Ask how they are going to ensure increased funding to meet the demand of an aging population and how they plan to protect our seniors. For incumbents, ask what they have done.
I’m also asking candidates locally and nationally how they plan to curb police brutality and their positions on use of force. I’m asking our local candidates how they will ensure school districts have equal access to needed resources, which is crucial especially during this environment of e-learning.
Make a plan to vote and help older adults vote in this election
Please educate yourselves, and then make a plan to vote on Nov. 3. Not sure where to go? Find your polling place here.
Finally, I’m going to ask you to help. Voting isn’t easy for every Hoosier. Many older adults remain afraid to go out because of COVID-19. While Indiana won’t accept absentee ballots because of COVID, you can get an absentee ballot if you are over the age of 65, have underlying health conditions or a disability, or lack transportation. So, here’s where we need your help:
- Make sure the older adults in your life are registered, and if they aren’t, help them get registered to vote.
- If you know someone who isn’t able to get out to vote, help them request an absentee ballot.
- If you know someone who wants to vote but doesn’t have transportation, offer to take them to the polls.
Every vote counts. Every voice matters. Let’s take advantage of our right to vote, because it hasn’t always been a right for each of us, or one we valued.