The 2022 mid-term elections take place Tuesday, November 8. This year, the stakes are higher than they've possibly ever been, and the outcomes of elections on each level of government will set the course for the future of our democracy. Come out to the polls and make your voice, your vote, heard.
Mid-term elections have historically been relatively mundane, encompassing the same half-hearted campaigning on the state and federal level and garnering little public attention when compared to presidential elections.
But this year is different. With tight, unpredictable races across the country and here in Minnesota, there is much at stake. Over the past few years, the country has seen an unprecedented amount of turmoil, political infighting, trauma, misinformation, and the first Supreme Court decision to unabashedly revoke rights formerly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Why it matters here
In Minneapolis, we're still dealing with the fallout from the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing violence, especially in North, where crime and violence are persistently on the rise and people cannot feel safe, even inside their own homes. Gun violence is at a fever pitch — this year, it's easier to count the number of days without a shooting in our city than those when there were shootings. Our city, with its abundant opportunities for people to find success and live peaceful, productive lives, is known as "Murderapolis" around the country.
African American in Minneapolis continue to face discrimination in healthcare, financial mobility, housing procurement, employment opportunities, and many other areas. 83% of victims who have died from gunshot wounds in 2022 are Black; 89% of gun crimes are committed by Black people. This is not a cultural trend; it's the direct result of poverty, which is exacerbated by isolation, marginalization, and a lack of resources for Black people in our city.
Change doesn't happen in the streets. It doesn't happen when we take up arms and protect ourselves vigilante-style, and it doesn't happen when we riot and create mass violence. It also doesn't happen when we sit quietly and wait. Our agent for change exists in one place, and that place is the polls.
What's at Stake
Erosion of laws and policies that exist to protect minorities forces a step back, and can quickly give way to the undermining of over half a century of progress for African Americans and other groups. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a prime example of how federal-level decision making directly impacts quality of life — namely, for African American women, who utilize abortion rights more than any other group, and who are now the most vulnerable to serious health complications and risk of death due to pregnancy.
The Supreme Court is currently poised to take up a case that may well end affirmative action, a set of policies that ensure equal access to education and employment opportunities for minorities. Allowing racist policies to take root in our judicial system is a choice. We can choose the opposite, but to do so, we must show up at the polls tomorrow and vote.
Your Vote Matters
Even if you're less than inspired by the rhetoric in campaign speeches, or you find politics a difficult or boring arena, rife with false information and partisan animosity, consider what's at stake — on every level of government, the choices we make at the polls Tuesday have a profound impact on how we will live our lives over the next several years. Decision-makers in power now create the framework for American law that will last decades into the future.
We have a responsibility, as citizens of this country, to protect and preserve our democratic system. It is under threat, and, though imperfect, American democracy remains the prime example of a government that prioritizes individual freedom and the rights of people to choose how to live based on our own principles. No other system will afford us the ability to change those things that we cannot tolerate in our society, and no other system will defer to the will of the people to implement policies that make those changes permanent.
All you need to do is know where you stand on the issues that matter to you and choose the candidates whose ideas most closely align with your beliefs. Then, tomorrow, head to the polls and use your vote to make your voice heard.
Watch this video from Clean Elections Minnesota to learn how our state ensures election integrity
Don't know where to go to vote? Go to https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/ to find your polling place. Remember, Minnesotans have a legally protected right to take time away from work on Election Day to cast their votes.