When you cast your ballot in the U.S., you’re exercising your right as a citizen to assert your opinion for who you want to represent you and your country. Voting is seen as the ultimate equalizer, but that isn’t always the case. There are so many people living across the U.S. and its territories who can’t vote for the leaders who run the country. Many are too young to vote and some are deemed not mentally capable. Others are legal permanent residents living and working in the U.S. but still don’t have a vote. If you’re a U.S. citizen and live in a U.S. territory like Guam or Puerto Rico, you can serve in the military, but you cannot vote for president. These people would give anything to have a say. But you have the power to make a difference – your vote is bigger than you.
Too often, we hear people say, “My vote doesn’t matter” or “It’s a waste of my time to vote.” Ignore those voices – it does matter. It’s easy to become disheartened with the voting system when things don’t swing your way, but don’t give up. Many election outcomes are razor-thin, and your ballot can be the ultimate decider for who makes the laws that impact your life and your community.
As a nation battles a crippling pandemic and protests racial inequality, there is no better time to vote for the changes you want to see. Reebok is giving a voice to those who truly understand the value of your vote, because most of them can’t vote themselves. If you’re already planning to vote, this is a friendly reminder that there are people who are grateful to you for doing what they can’t. But, if you aren’t convinced that your vote matters, perhaps this group can shed some light on how meaningful it is.
Vote Because Those Who Can’t Count on You
Taylor is 36 years old and moved to the U.S. from Liberia with his family when he was four. While he’s lived in the U.S. for the majority of his life, as a green card holder and permanent resident he isn’t eligible to vote. He considers his story the epitome of what being an American is, and he understands the significance of having a vote. “Coming from a nation that experienced civil war, I appreciate having the ability to have a say or to participate in government.” He says it stings not to be able to go to the booth and voice his opinion, but people should believe in the impact they can have. “There is power in your voice, believe it or not. There's power in your voice.”
There's power in your voice, believe it or not. There's power in your voice.
There are about 3.4 million American citizens in Puerto Rico, but they are unable to participate in general elections. Natalia moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico four years ago, and with voting for President off the table, she’s relying on her friends to exercise their right. “I have a bunch of friends, people I call my family that live in New York. They do have a right to vote. I think we're pretty in sync on this. We have a pact, ‘If you're there and you can do it, please go and do it.’”
Ambry, a Reebok employee and Bahamian native, says people getting out to vote is crucial not only for him, but for others who come to the U.S. to live different lives. “I came into this country knowing that I can't vote. But I'm looking for people who can vote to help build a better U.S. I'm dependent on the people that I'm around to ensure that they are not just looking out for themselves, but also the people around them. I want to make sure that the U.S. is a safe place to live in.” For Ambry, your single vote can make a difference. The collective voices of many are so much louder than just a small few.
I'm dependent on the people that I'm around to ensure that they are not just looking out for themselves, but also the people around them.
George is a U.S. citizen and has the right to vote. He has a special needs brother who can’t vote and encourages everyone to vote for those who aren’t able to speak up for themselves. “It's important to me to go out and vote and make sure that not only my brother, but other people in that situation have a voice and don't lose the services that they need.” By casting your vote you’re helping to create a future that works for everyone. There are many people who benefit from what you decide to do on election day.
Vote to Set Up the Younger Generation for Success
In 2020, one-in-ten eligible voters
will be members of Gen Z (ages 18-23); that’s up 4% from 2016 when most were too young to vote. This November, one study found Millennials (ages 24-39) and Gen Zers will make up 37% of the electorate
. That percentage could provide enough of a swing to influence and shape outcomes
. Gen Z is here and they’re loud. They have strong opinions on politics and just about everything else. And, not to be outdone, Generation Alpha is right behind them and possibly even more fired up about wanting their voices to be heard.
Marcus is a 16-year-old from Boston, and while he’s too young to vote, he’s asking adults to listen up, pay attention and get out there. “You're affecting the generation that's going to come right behind you,” he says. “You're going to put someone in a very powerful position and they're going to do certain things that are going to affect my generation for decades. And it's something that we probably can't change right now, but it's going to have a lasting impact for us.”
You're going to put someone in a very powerful position and they're going to do certain things that are going to affect my generation for decades.
Older generations have the ability to show next generations how it’s done (and bring them along). “If you're under 18, people don't really take you as seriously,” says Natural, a 17-year-old high schooler from New York. “They don't think that someone that's not considered an adult has that kind of intellect or knows much about what goes on in politics. But that's the thing, people watch. We're still people at the end of the day. Just like little kids. Little kids pick things up. We know what goes on. But just because somebody is not of age doesn't mean that they won't understand.”
Vote Because You Can, and It Matters
Voting allows you to have a voice and participation is essential to our democracy. Reebok is a proud sponsor of Rock The Vote
, a nonpartisan nonprofit that has been dedicated to building the political power of young people for 30 years. A Rock the Vote spokesperson says there’s as much at stake now than ever before, and that every vote counts. “It is as important as it’s ever been to encourage massive voter turnout to overcome voter suppression tactics we see all over the country.” From Vote at Home, to early voting, to going to the polls on Election Day, there are a lot of ways to show up in this critical election year.
It's as important as it's ever been to encourage massive voter turnout to overcome voter suppression tactics we see all over the country.
Your one vote adds up. Wise beyond his years, Marcus put it best: “Voting is just one of those things where, it may not seem important, but one vote could really change everything. I think a lot of times people don't really understand the power of just one vote and how so much that is going on today could be changed with one vote.” So, on or before November 3rd do it for them; for those who can’t, vote.
For more voting resources and information on how to register to vote, learn about flexible voting options in your state, request an absentee ballot, and more, visit RockTheVote.org.