Here’s the chance to take back your power

Sam Martino is Out In Jersey magazine Editor-in-Chief
Sam Martino is Out In Jersey magazine Editor-in-Chief
Editor’s letter

On November 6, 2018, we will have the opportunity to take back our power. If you aren’t registered to vote, you have until October 16, 2018, to register. Like all elections, this election is as important as they get.

The U.S. Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including two Independents). There are 23 Democratic seats, eight Republican seats, and two seats held by Independents up for election in 2018. The Democratic Party will need to pick up two seats in the Senate in order to regain the majority they lost in 2014. To learn more about the candidates, read J.L. Gaynor’s article “Menendez or Hugin: Which is the Better Choice for LGBT NJ?” on page 12.

But this is not an editorial to convince you who to vote for, because I suspect if you are voting, you already have a candidate in mind. I am reaching out to the people who don’t see the point in voting.

So why don’t people vote? Most say they didn’t like the candidates, or they don’t feel their vote will make a difference. But that is just not a valid reason for not voting. According to the Pew Research Center, tens of millions of registered voters didn’t cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. You see where that got us.

It doesn’t matter if you are not in love with a candidate. What matters is that you go out there and exercise your right to vote. I am a registered Democrat. I am not in love with the candidate up for re-election, but I choose to vote so that the Republicans don’t win. Right now, unfortunately, that’s what it has come down to. Which party do you want to win?

In theory, Mr. Menendez should easily win re-election since registered Democratic voters in New Jersey outnumber Republicans by nearly 900,000. But if all the Democrats don’t show up at the polls, there could be an upset in this election, and that’s the last thing we want to happen.

Other reasons to vote: If you don’t vote, it’s not a democracy. You will not be taken seriously, and you absolutely cannot complain about the government if you don’t vote. This is one of those times where we are all on the same playing field. No matter how much money you have, your race, religion, sex or sexual identity, we all get one vote. Also, I don’t know about you, but for me when I go to the polls to cast my vote, I feel like I am doing my civic duty. I feel it’s one of the most American things people can do for themselves, the country, and their fellow Americans. Especially as a woman, many women died for my right to vote. Who am I to turn my back on their suffrage?

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Like I have said many times before, Trump is what you get when half of the population doesn’t vote. So please get out and vote. And encourage anyone you come into contact with to do the same.

Sam Martino
Maria Sammartino (aka Sam Martino), is a writer and artist for over 15 years. Maria started at Out In Jersey as the news editor in 2009, and shortly thereafter became the Editor-In-Chief. She has been published in the Philadelphia Gay News, The International Journal of MS Care, and others. Maria goes by Sam Martino because she believes that women are never given a fair shot - and doesn’t want her art or her writing to be judged based on her sex, but on the merit of the work.