Your Vote Does Matter
Guest writer: Samantha Meyer
News flash: your vote matters.
This may seem like common sense, but many disillusioned Americans believe that their vote will not make any difference in the polls or in the way the government is run. At times it may feel that way for citizens of Georgia, it being a Southern state where conservative values and politics are predominant and perhaps even assumed. However, that is simply not the case in the 2014 Georgia Senate race.
The race between Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R) is close—really close. The polls have them neck and neck, with the very real possibility that the race could turn in Nunn’s favor. This would be the first time a Democrat has been elected to a state office in Georgia for over a decade.
Feminist Majority endorses Michelle Nunn’s candidacy because of her commitment to women’s rights and reproductive rights, as well as her belief in college affordability and the need to confront climate change. Nunn supports a woman’s right to make health care decisions about birth control and abortion. She is also a strong advocate of equal pay for equal work, supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act.
David Perdue does not represent the interests of Georgia women, opposing Roe v. Wade, the federal Equal Rights Amendment, and U.S. participation in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Beyond representing our interests as Georgians, this Senate race is important for its potential impact on the U.S. Congress. Democrats currently hold a narrow majority in the Senate, and if they lose it, both houses of Congress will be controlled by Republicans. The repercussions of this could be far-reaching, with women paying the price.
The Republican majority in the House and the Republican minority in the Senate have had a virulent anti-abortion and anti-birth control track record. They have made over 50 attempts to repeal or modify the Affordable Care Act, including the Well Woman Package which provides birth control benefits without co-pays or deductibles. In 2011, Republicans also proposed HR 358 or the “Protect Life Act,” which has been called the “Let Women Die” Act by pro-choice advocates, a bill that would allow doctors and hospitals to “exercise their conscience” by refusing to provide abortions to pregnant women facing emergency medical condition—opting for doctors and hospitals to let women in need die rather than supporting lifesaving care.
The worst of these policies have been stopped by the Democratic majority in the Senate. If Democrats lose the majority, these kinds of policies can be added as riders on appropriations bills that the President may not be able to veto.
This is where you come in: your vote can make a difference, not only in our state Senate race, but in Congress as a whole. If every college student who is registered to vote exercised their right to do so, the impact could be enormous.
Early voting in Georgia ends October 31, and Election Day is November 4. If you go to UGA and are not registered in Athens-Clarke County, make sure you request and return your absentee ballot to your county by October 31 if you can’t cast an early vote in person.