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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Voting is crucial for this upcoming election

Photo credit: Diego Ramirez

Nov. 6 is coming, and as people residing in the U.S, we all have important decisions to make.

It’s no secret that politics are a headache, inducing, confusing and sometimes manipulative, during this time of year. Politicians, and those supporting their campaigns, have a tendency to do anything to ensure a vote, whether that means spreading propaganda about their opponents or bending the truth to show themselves in a better light. It’s frustrating because these people panning for political power are saying all of these things that sound great, but it’s hard to know if voting them in will keep them accountable.

Nobody is here to force you to vote. If you’re eligible to do so, that also means that you have the undeniable right to choose to not vote. It’s a voter’s prerogative to decide this for themselves. But, in this day and age in this country, maybe you shouldn’t be thinking about just yourself.

In this current political climate, every vote has the potential to be vital in the grand scheme of how our government will function over the next few years. If you care about women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, people experiencing homelessness and other marginalized groups across the country, you need to think long and hard before not showing up to a polling place on election day. Wanting to stay neutral on politics cannot be an option this time around. The future of all of these groups lies in the hands of voters and the representatives we vote in.

While every issue is extremely important and urgent, I cannot highlight every point in a timely manner. However, one issue has stuck out to me recently when an article by The New York Times hit the internet a few weeks ago: the Trump administration is considering narrowing the definition of gender down to biology, which is inherently determined by genitalia at birth. This would erase terms like “transgender” and “non-binary” from within our government and, without the existence of those words, laws cannot be enacted to protect those individuals.

On the day that this news was released, it was reported by The Advocate that calls to Trans Lifeline, the only suicide hotline operated by trans people for trans people, quadrupled in the average amount of calls. This is a pressing and time sensitive matter that is affecting real people, and the source is coming directly from governmental influence. If hearing this makes you want to change, reposting your anger to your Twitter followers isn’t doing anything. But you do have one tool that has the potential to make an impact: your vote.

One vote may seem small and uninfluential, but, if every person said that, then we would never move forward. It is our duty to use our power and voices as voters to help communities in desperate need of representation and support within the government. Whether any of us like it or not, we live here, within this government. And the choices that it makes affects all of us, one way or another.

Take a stand and research the representatives in your county and state. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to show up in mass amounts on election day. We need everybody.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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