By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
February is Black History Month, it is the month of St. Valentine’s Day and in 2018 it is the month for midterm elections. While it’s been a little over a year since the last nationwide vote, the time has come again to cast a ballot, specifically on Feb. 20 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The midterm elections, while an essential part in determining the nation’s future, is often overlooked or forgotten. This is due in part to the fact that many people find themselves unaware of the elections or who is on the ballot.
For future reference, the midterm elections occur every two years after the Presidential Elections. Since the last election was in 2016, the midterms are in 2018 and the next midterms will be held in 2022 after the 2020 presidential elections.
The purpose of the midterms varies per state but it’s typically meant to elect members of the United State Congress. In Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Election Commission’s website, officials will be elected to the Court of Appeals Judge and Circuit Court Judge.
To find out where or how they can vote and who they’re voting for, Milwaukee residents can visit https://myvote.wi.gov/enus/. While most early voting and absentee voting deadlines have passed, people can still cast their in-person absentee ballots till Feb. 18 or wait till Feb. 20 to vote in person.
Wisconsin Law voters must provide a photo-ID.
Ballots may vary depending on the district, but Justice for Supreme Court will be included. Citizens can vote for Rebecca Dallet, Michael Screnock, Tim Burns or write in their own.
It’s essential that each citizen exercise their right to vote. Not only is it their right, it is another way to make their voices heard.
For too long, the voices of citizens weren’t heard or even acknowledged unless they belonged to a white male. Black men weren’t allowed to vote until 1870 under the 15th Amendment. White women weren’t allowed to vote until 19th Amendment in 1920, and Black women didn’t truly feel the right to vote until the 1960s.
The right to vote didn’t happen overnight, it happened because people were brave enough to take a stand and fight for what was and is rightfully theirs.
In Milwaukee, residents talk about their desire to make a change and voting is how change can happen.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his 1957 speech “Give Us The Ballot, We Will Transform The South,” at the Lincoln Memorial, “Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.”
The power is in the people and the people must make their voices heard through the power of the vote.