VOTE!!! - badges and my voting story
I Voted Blinky Badges are here!
You may have noticed something new and fun on our homepage - inspired by the "I Voted" stickers, we made blinky badges. Now you can show your pride in voting, and encourage others to vote, day after day before November 3rd!
What are they?
They're wearable circuit boards that you can "pin" to your clothes using 2 super-strong magnets. We have a pre-assembled version and a solder-it-yourself kit, and all have an ON/OFF button and a BLINK/SOLID button, in case you're sensitive to flashing lights or just don't feel like blinking at the moment. All come with a battery and the two magnets used for "pinning".
My Voting Story
Voting is important to me now because I grew up in a community of people who were mostly disenfranchised by voting. I grew up in the US Virgin Islands, a US territory, where the US citizens who reside there are stripped of their right to vote. I say it like that for a reason - I think people tend to easily "other" people living in US territories thinking either "oh they aren't acutally US citizens" or "no one really lives there, it's just a place people go on vacation." Both of those are very very wrong impressions. Many families have lived there for generations, and anyone born in the USVI or Puerto Rico is a US citizen. If YOU are a stateside-living US citizen and decided to move to the USVI tomorrow, you would not be able to vote for President and would have no voting representation in Congress. Yeah. You can move to Peru and still vote, but you cannot vote if you move to a territory of the United States. If you have any doubt this is due to racism against Black and brown people, read this Harvard Law Review article and some of the language used by - I shit you not - Professor Christopher Columbus Langdell, proclaiming that Puerto Rico and the USVI were "inhabited by alien races."
So the first election I was eligible to vote in because I moved to California, was the year 2000. And I was like "whatever, who cares" because frankly, the federal government of the United States is dismissive of its territories, so I was pretty dismissive of it too. But then a friend had an election night party, but only if you voted and he threatened to check stubs at the door (this friend is Adam Rakunas, he now writes some fun sci-fi with female protagonists, check him out). Well, a party with good friends and good food was relevant to my interests, so that's why I registered to vote and voted in that election - the first in a long time where the popular vote went against the electoral college and yes, my just-out-of-college-self was like, "see, this is bullshit, I told you so!" But despite that, I still continued to vote in presidential elections, and then I started to vote in midterms, and then I started to actually give a shit about voting.
Yes, I should have given a shit earlier. I shouldn't have HAD to been peer-pressured into it. This story isn't a shining example of inspiration. I wanted to share it because I know there are a millions reasons to be disenfranchised - feeling that your country doesn't give a shit about you, feeling like it's always a choice between bad and worse. But it is a choice, and some people don't even get that. And your vote absolutely matters at the local level - our mayor race was won by only about 40 votes in 2016.
I still think there are serious problems with the electoral college system, but voting is the main weapon I have. Even if it's dull as a spoon, I'm still going to use it. It's the LEAST I can do. If you've got a disenfranchised friend, keep working at them. It may only take a bribe of some cookies or beer. And please remember, voting is a privilege, it's not a guaranteed right. Please exercise the privilege you have.