The importance of voting and representation 


Photo courtesy of The Detroit News

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Metro Detroit ahead of election day to discuss voting and the semiconductor chip shortage.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) attended the kickoff event for the Lieutenant Governor’s MI First Vote initiative in Southfield, Michigan. Vice President Kamala Harris was in attendance, urging young people to get out and vote.

Attending this event reminded me of the importance of voting, especially as a young leader. Throughout the day, I was reminded that as a young leader, it is my responsibility to participate — and that includes voting. Doing so, especially in these dire election seasons, is actually critical.

Hearing our country’s Vice President speak was not only a source of inspiration as a young leader, but a source of inspiration in terms of representation. Harris shows young girls that nothing is impossible. 

In times where things feel impossibly hopeless and our goals seem too distant, a glimmer of hope is something that girls like me need. Girls like me need to see ourselves in these positions of power to know that these opportunities exist for us. 

Harris acknowledged the difficulties we’ve faced over the past few years. Graduating, starting college and having so many things in our life shift. These past couple of years have not been easy for anyone — and yet, we’re taking action. One way I want to take action this year is voting.

Voting has always been something that’s vital for me, though with so many issues happening at the same time, it can feel overwhelming. One way I combat that is knowing I’m doing my part — by not only voting, but also by encouraging others around me to vote. It’s one of the best parts of being in OUSC this year — doing our part as leaders to talk about voting is something I’m proud of. 

Many people may take the right to vote for granted. People underestimate the importance of voting and what role young people play in our future. The right to vote, especially for marginalized identities, has not come easy. Voting is something that has huge stakes, and has come at great costs. 

Voting isn’t necessarily the only way to make a difference, but it is a very important one, and you should exercise your right to vote every time there’s an election. Elections play a huge part in our future, and young people get a chance to shape that future by showing up and participating during election seasons. 

For so long I’ve wondered what I could do as a young leader in a time of political uncertainty. The many social issues that are currently being debated in this country and the discourse surrounding them has left many people feeling powerless, myself included. Voting gives people the power to make their voices heard and impact their communities at the local, state and national level. 

Election Day is Nov. 8, 2022. Polls will close at 8 p.m. on this day. I encourage everyone to learn about candidates and ballot proposals to cast an educated vote. Participation is key, especially right now, when so many policies and social issues remain unresolved and on the line.