By Kyrah Simon, Staff Reporter
On Feb. 27, under the light drizzle of unexpected rainfall, I nudged my absentee ballot into the open slot of a United States Postal Service box. I walked away relieved, relieved that I had made use of my right to vote for the first time in my adult life and that my candidate of choice was one vote closer to victory in Florida’s presidential preference primary. I would see how it all played in the upcoming weeks, sure to check my phone during my trip with ASB to scroll through the results.
Except that trip with ASB never happened, a casualty of the progression of COVID-19 in the continental U.S.
I scrolled through the results of the presidential preference primary the night of March 17 from my bedroom in South Florida, having purchased a last-minute ticket home only three days earlier.
Voting was the last thing on mine and many other Americans’ minds as they rushed to find ways to protect themselves from the surging virus. Voting, if not already done through early voting or mail-in ballots, became a decision between practicing your civic-duty or remaining safe during an unpredictable global pandemic. Many chose the latter.
Some states postponed voting for a later date, encouraging voters to practice their civic-duty while remaining safe with a mail-in ballot. These states include Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
While I can understand why many may not feel compelled to vote in our current environment, it is this very environment that should encourage you to vote.
Elected leaders have revealed their incompetence time and time again in the handling of COVID-19. From Trump ignoring early warnings in January that 500,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 to Florida governor Ron Desantis refusing to shut down Florida beaches as they flooded with spring breakers, to Georgia governor Brian Kemp reopening Georgia beaches this week despite rising cases in the state – it is clear that these people are not fit to lead.
Incompetent leaders are the culprit of the spread of COVID-19 and the unnecessary deaths of over 14,000 Americans.
In the upcoming primary and general elections, please make sure your voice is heard. It is our vote that removes incompetent leaders from the positions they have abused and ensures that history will not repeat itself down the line. And trust me, they do not want you to vote.