by Mary Rice
As a small business owner I know first-hand what it is like to be too busy for a lot of things, but you can never be too busy to vote. Voting is an essential part of being an American and we owe it to our ancestors who fought for the right to vote to exercise that right. Polling places are open all day on Tuesday November 4, but if you can’t make it out on a work day you can stop by any library in Orange County and cast your ballot early, between now and Sunday November 2.
If you wait till Sunday to vote you can make a day of it by going to the polls after church. Souls to the Polls is a movement that encourages local church congregations to go to the polls together after Sunday mornings service. You can line up together, pray together, and vote together. Chances are your pastor has an event planned, but if not, let your congregation know about the opportunity to vote as a community. The Orange County Branch of the NAACP has events planned from 10am to 7pm this Sunday at the Hiawassee Branch Library at 7931 W. Colonial Dr. and at the Supervisor of Elections office at 119 W. Kaley St.
As a mother this election couldn’t be more important to me and there is a lot at stake for the future of Florida. We need to vote for the candidates that will stop gutting our public education system and will focus on our most important investment, our children. Budget cuts have caused good teachers to lose their jobs and countless more young people to choose to abandon their dream of becoming a teacher in favor of a better paying job with more job security.
With more and more households depending on income from women it is appalling to know that women are still not paid equally. There currently is no specific legislation addressing this issue, but you can look at the candidates voting history to look at how they voted on previous bills. There is no place in Florida politics for someone who doesn’t believe women deserve equal pay for equal work.
For years after Election Day our elected officials will be making decisions that affect our income, families, education, and healthcare. Voting is the first step in getting involved, but it isn’t the last. You can write articles like this and letters to the editor, advocate for causes important to you, or even run for office. Bring your friends and family out to the polls with you between now and Tuesday November 4 and don’t let your passion die there. Stay involved!
Mary Rice, owner of The Braids and Weave Factory at the West Oaks Mall and Main Street Alliance of Florida member.