When We Vote We Honor Our Ancestors

by | May 27, 2022 | President Message

This Saturday, the California Primary Election begins with early voting at polling stations located throughout Los Angeles County. Angelenos will have an opportunity to vote on three city-wide offices, including the mayor, city attorney, city controller, and eight of the city’s 15 city council seats and county, state, and national offices. If any candidates receive more than 50% of the vote, they will be declared the winner and sworn in on January 3, 2022. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters in each race will proceed to the November general election. Voter turnout for this primary election will decide who makes it to the November ballot and how such a win will impact our city. 

Your vote is critically important to honor those who fought and died for your right to vote.

  • In the 1700s, only white males who owned land had the right to vote. From 1792 to 1856, some states, including Rhodes Island, adopted a new constitution that extended the vote to all tax-paying native-born adult males, including African-Americans.
  • In 1865, abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass spoke before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, where he said: “If we know enough to be hung, we know enough to vote. If the Negro knows enough to pay taxes to support the government, he knows enough to vote; taxation and representation should go together. If he knows enough to shoulder a musket and fight for the flag for the government, he knows enough to vote. What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.”
  • Journalist and suffragist Ida B. Wells decried lynchings in editorials and, along with W.E.B. DuBois, was one of the founders of the National Advancement for Colored People. In a march on Washington for women’s suffrage in 1913, the leadership told her that black women would march in the rear. She said to them that she would refuse to take part unless “I can march under the Illinois banner.'” 
  • In early 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr., and his team, which included Rev. James Lawson, Jr., brought national attention to the issue with a voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama. Alabama officials met them with fierce opposition, which eventually led to the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. When the procession arrived at the state capitol, they were 25,000 marchers strong. Months later, in August of 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.

We must honor the legacy of these giants and vote and make sure that everyone we know is registered to vote and can cast their vote in the June primary election and the election in November.

Vote by June 7

The last time any candidate won more than 50% of the vote in the primary election was in 1933. That seems like a long time ago, and you may think that it is unlikely that it could happen again, but know this, if you don’t vote in this primary, you may not get a chance to vote for your candidates in the November election.

All registered voters should have received a mail-in ballot in the first week of May. Those seeking a mail-in ballot must do so by May 31, 2022. Any mail-in ballot not postmarked by June 7 will not be counted. Mail your ballot in time or Find a Vote Center and make your ancestors proud.

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