For our Vote Now campaign, we aim to address some of the systematic failures that have led to a flawed democracy in America, and driving support for efforts that aims to expand the opportunity to vote to more people.
Key elections all over the country went down on Tuesday as people cast their ballots in local races and on a range of ballot measures. Given that this is an off-year election, turnout was low but the results have a lot to say about the nation's potential political future following the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election.
Democrats had major wins with Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ralph Northam of Virginia each getting elected governor in their respective states (there are currently 34 Republicans in office). Also, in Virginia, Democrat Justin Fairfax was elected as Lt. Governor, which is a significant since he's only the second African-American to win an election for a statewide office in Virginia--the first being former Governor Doug Wilder in 1994. Similarly, the country paid close attention to mayoral races in several states as the role of mayors has grown more relevant to people's lives particularly in the wake of Charlottesville and various cities' commitments to renewable energy policy.
In Boston, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh was re-elected, as was Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Florida. Several newcomers won their mayoral bids such as Brian Pugh of Croton-on-Hudson, NY and Francis Saurez of Miami, FL. The hotly contested mayoral race in Atlanta will be decided in a nonpartisan runoff between Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood this December. Also, in Lewiston, ME, Ben Chin will go head-to-head in a runoff against city-council veteran Shane Bouchard later this year.
History was made this year after Danica Roem, an openly trans woman, defeated longtime incumbent and self-declared "chief homophobe" Robert Marshall to become the first transgender state legislator in the U.S. for Virginia's House of Delegates. Also, Andrea Jenkins, another openly trans candidate, was elected to the Minneapolis City Council joining Roem in history-making elections.
Besides the candidates, states had other important issues to consider when it came to ballot initiatives. In New York, voters rejected holding a Constitutional Convention -- an action that was largely opposed by labor and Avengers actor Mark Ruffalo-- which would have required local delegates to make changes to the state constitution. Also, in Ohio, residents voted no on Issue 2, which would have lowered prescription drug prices across the state-- not a good sign in the fight for affordable health care.
There are still more elections to come this year, including a mayoral race in Albuquerque on November 14, where Tim Keller looks to be a frontrunner. Also, city council elections will be held in New Orleans on November 18 where LaToya Cantrell's campaign is gaining steam.
What you can do:
Approximately 100 million people didn't vote in last year's political election, which highlights just how much every vote matters. If you want to have a voice in how the country is run make sure you're registered to vote and that you're participating both local and national elections.
VICE Impact has partnered with Democracy Works on their TurboVote initiative to get people registered to vote and share information about upcoming races that will directly affect you.
Register today, so that you can have a say in the politics of tomorrow.
And then some:
When it's to voting America is pretty awful, and even in an age of extreme political discontent voter turnout is reaching an all-time low. According to reporter Alex Silverman, in New York City, the turnout was 12 percent for elections this year.
Considering that mayoral candidates were on the ballot, this is an insanely depressing number.
Silverman also pointed out that 2013 turnout was 24 percent—at the time a record low— and in 2009 the turnout percentage was 28. There are a lot of things wrong with the voting system in America—we know.
While it may seem like your vote doesn't matter the reality is quite the opposite. In 2015, a single vote was the deciding factor in 31 separate elections.
Remember, every vote counts! So use yours responsibly.