Kenai Peninsula Votes teamed up with Friends of the Homer Library recently to sponsor an essay contest about voting and its importance. The winning pieces of that contest are now being showcased.
Writers up and down the Kenai Peninsula responded to the contest with many thoughts and memories — a woman with dual citizenship, chose the U.S. as the only country she could vote in; of a grandmother that walked two miles in the rain to cast her vote; a mother that became a U. S. citizen just to be able to vote; the 15th Amendment to our constitution giving us the right to vote; and many claimed their voting rights gave them a voice in our governments. The panel of judges had much to think about.
Making those voices heard, these quotable offerings came from the submissions:
“The honor and the right to vote is one I will never take lightly. Voting comes with responsibility. You have power when you vote. Use it wisely.”
“My vote is my voice. … I am a contributor to the way my country or state, or my borough or my city is run. Voting is your voice. Use it and use it every chance you get.”
“Vote! You count. By law, every vote must be counted.”
“If I don’t vote, and you don’t vote and most people don’t bother with voting, we’ll be real sad when we wake up and discover what life under a dictator is like. Making a difference gives you power over uncertainty.”
“If we succumb to the notion that our vote does not count then we have surrendered our freedom.”
“Voting is such an important principle and privilege that nations protect that right by only allowing citizens to vote.”
“I had to choose whether to vote in the USA or in the United Kingdom, and once I chose, I was no longer entitled to vote in the other nation.”
“We elect people to make important decisions for us, and my vote, for the person that best represents my values, counts; it matters.”
As the writer Jeannette Wells worte, “Anyone who thinks he’s too small to make a difference has never been bitten by a mosquito.”
The contest winners are: Karen Murdock, first place; Jack Wiles, second place; Marilyn Wheeless, third place; and Vivian Finlay, fourth place.
Bea McDonough took first place entry in the 12-17 age range.
By Karen Murdock, first place, adult category
For 50 years, I have gone to the polls and cast my vote — 50 years of making my voice heard and helping to shape the future of my community and country. When I walk through the door of the polling place, I am honoring those who fought for decades for every citizen’s right to vote. When I go to the polls, I am exercising my right to participate in our democracy. Voting keeps democracy strong and helps guarantee that all citizens share the same freedom. Voting protects democracy from tyranny.
My vote gives power to my voice and values as I support candidates and legislation that represents those beliefs. Sometimes I enter the booth filled with hope for a particular candidate and/or legislation. Other times, my vote is an angry one, voting in opposition to issues/persons on the ballot. Regardless of the reasons, I am grateful that I live in a democracy where I am able to make my voice heard. Not only do I vote for the candidates and legislation that reflect my values, I vote to ensure that our society is an inclusive and safe one. Given the current political climate, it is paramount that all Americans are represented in our democracy.
Voting during these chaotic Covid times is a powerful way to help stop injustice and influence the immediate future of our community. There are many options for voting: absentee ballots, early voting and voting at the polls. Find your voice and take it to the ballot box. Every vote matters! Each vote is equally important! Vote with a sense of hope and change for our country. Vote like your life depends on it, because our future does.
By Bea McDonough, first place, student category
(Please read as a rap)
If you can argue about politics
With your next-door neighbor
Then surely you can voice your vision
By voting, a small labor
If you don’t like what’s happening
In our city, state, or nation
Then make a change, fill out a ballot
At your polling location
The voter turnout has been few in the 2000s
But if we all got up and went
There’d be an accurate representation
Of who we want in the U.S. government
So please, just do your part
When given the opportunity
And vote when the season comes
At a polling place, in your community