2020 has undoubtedly been a year of restrictions and uncertainties. We’ve spent half the year inside our homes, social distancing from others, and wading through work days via Zoom. We’ve been forced into new territories, as some of us took on the challenges of homeschooling our own kids for the first time. Although we’ve been doing our part in the greater good of slowing the spread of COVID-19, it’s been a tough year without much freedom.
Times may seem bleak but the year has not come to a close just yet; the presidential elections approach, and the result will set the tone of the country for the next four years. As we move closer to Election Day, En Masse wants to encourage you to leave your mark on history by voting for who and what you believe in. Given our current global situation, from the pandemic to social unrest and protests, it’s important to exercise your right to vote on one of the country’s most crucial decisions.
Standing fearless this year means something different than any other election in the past two decades. When the pandemic engulfed the freedoms and flexibilities in our daily lives, we struggled to maintain our sense of normalcy. We expressed our concerns and fought for what we believed was right, exposing our true colors of how we view our world. The 2020 election stands as a testament to these decisions we made in pandemic and its effects will extend for the next four or more years. We must stand strongly and courageously behind the leadership we choose just as we have by our choices this year.
If you have not expressed your opinions this quarantine, now is your time to do so. Your vote matters for this country just as much as your voice matters in the En Masse tribe. There is power in every individual voter and history has continued to show us this, from big to small elections.
20 years ago, democratic candidate Al Gore lost an extremely tight knit Electoral College vote against republican candidate George W. Bush. How did he lose? Their election was so narrowly contested that a recount occurred in Florida, causing Bush to win the popular vote by a small margin and activated an automatic recount. The resulting Supreme Court case and recounting of the votes allowed Bush to win Florida by 0.009 percent of the votes cast in the state, or specifically 537 votes. Without the support of 537 more Gore voters, Bush was elected president in 2000 and served until 2008.
While this presidential election may have come close, smaller state elections have candidates that won even closer by the skin of their teeth. In 2018, Johnny Olszewski Jr. won the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive by earning 17 more votes than his competitors, out of 87,222 votes. One of 2016’s New Mexico state House seats was decided by only two votes out of more than 14,000 total participants. And a GOP primary in a state House race back in 2002 was lost by a single vote because one of the candidate's fellow police reserve officers forgot to mail in his ballot.
These important moments serve as evidence that in order to achieve what we desire, we must act together. Voting in this election will move us forward toward maintaining our freedom and strengthening our tribe, some of the values that we find important and hope you will evaluate too.
We’ve chosen not to bore you with all the statistics and civic duties behind why you should vote but we’ll share only one number; only 53.4% of the citizen voting-age population voted in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If the closely contested elections weren’t enough to show you the importance of voting, take it upon yourself to increase this number for the sake of fighting for what you believe is right.
2020 has been a landslide of events out of our own control. This year, En Masse implores you to take matters into your own hands and create the future you want by standing up for what you believe in. Only by voting in this presidential election can we reobtain toward freedoms and establish the leadership that will push us to continue to grow.