By Oscar Romano – YES Prep Gulfton
Regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, today’s political climate is tense. It just takes turning on the television to see political ads vying for your vote. Even if you think otherwise, elections are the opportunity to make your voice heard. This is how you get to have a say in how decisions are made in our government.
Why is it so important to vote? Elected officials have the ability to influence everything, from how your tax dollars are spent to how the United States engages with other countries. Every vote counts and politicians recognize that. Candidates raise thousands and millions of dollars to garner votes that could help get them elected. They recognize the power of each individual. It is time that you recognize your power too.
Don’t take your ability to vote for granted
There is power through your vote and it is a right you have that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It wasn’t too long ago when there were segments of our nation’s population who did not have the right to do so, including a resounding majority of our YES Prep population -both employees and the families we serve.
It was only 98 years ago when women were granted the right to vote, 94 years ago when Native Americans were granted that same right, and 75 years ago when Chinese immigrants were granted the right to citizenship and the right to vote. As recently as 53 years ago, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect racial minorities’ right to vote. Generations before us fought for our right to be heard, and while time may have healed some wounds, we should never forget its significance and importance.
This is your chance to vote for what you believe in
I’m an active participant, year round, in issues I feel strongly about. Education and immigration are very important to me and I inform myself about these issues. Come election season, these are the areas that influence my vote and who I elect to be my representative. That’s the beauty of this country! Each and every one of us has the right to vote, to vote for what we believe in and voice our views and opinions through the ballot.
In addition, before you step into the voting booth, make sure you know who and what is on the ballot. Do your research. Know what offices and propositions are on the ballot, and not just the big ticket races. You many have the right to vote, but it’s up to you to be an informed voter.
Where can you learn more? Get a copy of the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area’s Voters Guide. It is a nonpartisan election guide that not only provides general information on voting but also has the responses submitted by the candidates about key issues. This guide is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Your vote counts even if your candidates lose
You’ve done your civic duty and your candidate(s) didn’t win, so what’s the point of voting? The point is that even if your vote isn’t on the winning side, sufficient votes for the opponent lets the elected politician know how strong the opposing electorate is. It keeps him or her abreast of what issues are contentious in their community and by how much.
An elected official who wants to run for office again will need to be sure he or she doesn’t do anything that might alienate and energize the segment of the population that didn’t vote for them. Their time in office isn’t permanent, but only by voting can you keep this at top of mind for a politician, or for an issue.
It’s time. Get out there and vote!
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find your designated voting location, visit HarrisVotes.com.
Can’t make it out for one reason or another on Election Day? The two weeks leading up to Election Day is Early Voting, October 29 to November 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find the early voting location nearest you by clicking here.
Only you can make your voice count, and the way to do that is by exercising your right to vote!
About the Author
Oscar Romano is currently the School Director at YES Prep Gulfton. He has been working in education since 2009 and has been an administrator since 2012. Oscar attended Harvard University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology. He became a Corps Member with Teacher for America afterwards and worked as an 8th grade science teacher with the Houston Independent School District.
Following his time there, Oscar joined YES Prep Brays Oaks in 2009 as an 8th grade science teacher and grade level chair (teacher leader), and from 2012 to 2017 served as the High School Dean of Students. In June 2017, Oscar transitioned into the School Director role at YES Prep Gulfton.
He is a proud Latino, with parents from El Salvador. Advocating for Latino causes is something he is passionate about and is a large part of his identity. Oscar is also a blogger, managing two blogs where he writes about education and immigration.
When he’s not working with students and school leaders, he enjoys the company of a good book and has been known to run marathons.