I know summer is officially upon us, and we are finally seeing good weather and the end of the school year. However, our civic duty remains and we must prepare for Election Day June 26. Yes, you read that correctly. It is time to vote—again. And if you are registered, this election is the first of three elections this year. June 26, you will be heading to the polls for your congressional primaries.
When you head to the polls Tuesday, you will be voting in the primary for your member of U.S. Congress. That is, the person who will represent you and your district in Washington, D.C. Whoever is victorious Tuesday will appear on the ballot and you will need to vote for (or against) that person in November for the general election.
Our electoral system can be somewhat confusing. Unfortunately, many elected officials prefer this confusion. Participation in primary races is embarrassingly low. We are sending individuals to Washington, D.C. (and Albany) sometimes with only a few thousand votes. Elected officials know who are members of their “bases,” and they are usually quite attentive to the people who have turned out to the polls and assisted in their successful elections. There are so many anecdotal stories about nonprofits, churches, neighborhoods and housing complexes receiving preferential treatment because they vote. Some say this type of behavior is unfair because individuals are elected to represent their entire districts. However, other social scientists argue that this behavior is purely common sense. Elected officials have limited time and resources and often times choose to give their limited amount of attention to those who actually bothered to vote. Our political system is not the most equitable. However, those who vote definitely increase their chances of having (and demanding) that their voice be heard.
If you are able to vote in the upcoming election, please visit NYC Votes at www.voting.nyc for comprehensive information about your polling station, your ballot and knowing your rights when you go to the voting polls. This website is a great resource if you are unclear of the voting process. If you are still unclear, use a few minutes to ask friends and family questions about particular candidates or visit the resources provided by the League of Women Voters at www.lwvnyc.org.
Important 2018 election dates to remember: congressional primary, Tuesday, June 26; gubernatorial and statehouse primary (your elected representatives in Albany), Thursday, Sept. 13; and general election, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
So reminder, Tuesday, June 26, is Election Day, make your voice heard, represent the Americans who lost their lives to give us the right to vote and exercise your most American of rights and head to the ballot box.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is the 2018 NYU McSilver Institute Fellow and an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream” and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com. You can find her on Twitter @Dr_CMGreer.