America is the land of the free and the home of the brave because centuries ago young men fought to make it so. To keep that vision alive today, we must do our part to protect those freedoms. The easiest and most effective way to do this — is to vote.
Florida has a primary election in every county that includes offices from county to statewide. Our primary is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 23. The purpose is to choose party nominees to be voted for in the general election in November.
Our forefathers framed voting rights when they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Over the years our nation evolved and expanded those rights to various groups. American women were granted the right to vote in August 1920. In 1924, Native Americans became voters.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law to ensure African Americans the right to vote in 1965. He said, “The right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals control over their own destinies.”
Non-English-speaking voters were recognized in 1975. In the ‘80s, voting got easier for people with disabilities and the elderly. Laws making polling places handicapped accessible were passed in 1984.
We all know elections can be decided by people who vote. But sadly, many elections are decided by those who fail to vote. That is why I am asking you today to learn about elections in your community. Find the candidates who best align with your views and beliefs. Then, go to the polls and vote!
Seniors Across America recognizes that nearly one out of five Floridians are over 65 and seniors vote at twice the rate of younger voters. Our state is changing. It’s getting more expensive for seniors with price increases affecting housing, groceries, insurance and health care.
If you want to have a say in issues that affect your life, then you must vote. Susan B. Anthony, a powerful women’s rights activist during the suffragette movement in the early 20th century, once said “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”
The Florida primary is weeks away — and voting by mail is already under way — and I encourage people who have the time and the desire, to get involved. Hold neighborhood parties. Carry or set up signs on the streets in your community. Host election events so others will get involved.
Not only is voting our right. It is our duty. Let’s make our forebears proud and use it so we don’t lose it.
John Grant, former state representative and state senator, an estate planning attorney, and a member of the National Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, has spent much of his career working on behalf of seniors. He is continuing the advocacy work by heading a new venture called Seniors Across America to continue speaking up for our elderly population.