This November marks the first time I will be out of my home state of Oklahoma for an election and, as a result, the first time I will be voting by absentee ballot. As a feminist with very progressive political sentiments, I am often on the losing side. Not only do my preferred candidates lose, but they usually lose to the most right-wing, anti-choice, anti-feminists candidates around. My state senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe received a 100% and over 80% conservative rating respectively from the American Conservative Union.
Mary Fallin, our current governor, received a 97% lifetime conservative score from the same group. As governor, Fallin has opposed marriage equality, refused to expand Medicaid, implement the federal insurance marketplace under the ACA, and supports extending the equal protection clause to pre-born fetuses. With all of these anti-feminist politicians representing my home state, one might begin to wonder why I bother voting.
I still vote in my state elections because there are people in 2014 whose votes are being suppressed by ID laws and ever-shortening voting periods. I vote in honor of the women who worked tirelessly to gain suffrage.
Most importantly, I’m voting to show those politicians who would fight to take away rights from already marginalized groups that they have constituents who do not approve – and that those of us who disapprove are only growing in number. (Yes, even in conservative states like Oklahoma!)
The suffragist crusaders in American history prove that what is considered a radical, unpopular opinion at one point can, over time, become mainstream. I’m voting because even if my preferred candidates lose, my voice has been heard.