While the media is predicting historic numbers in Tuesday’s midterm elections, I will always remember that night in Times Square when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election: where thousands of New Yorkers stood in a historic rare moment of surreal silence in the middle of the epicenter of the world, shellshocked in agonizing disbelief.
That moment will forever be indelibly printed in my memory, where all the polls were wrong, and mainstream media pundits seemed to have betrayed our abilities to clearly see that our nation had become outraged at a system that didn’t reward those who played by the rules.
Although it’s true that the numbers of registered voters have increased substantially in many states, responding to a cacophonous anti-Trump media narrative, we folks with a progressive agenda must keep a vigilant eye and not be lulled into complacency that the blue wave is bound to occur. The Republican-funded campaigns of voter suppression, such as Interstate Crosscheck among others, that knocks Democratic-leaning minorities of the voter rolls, is alive and well.
Even in our beloved blue state of New York, however, has had issues. Not only in the 2016 Democratic primary, where 125,000 voters were purged of the rolls in Brooklyn, a Bernie Sanders stronghold, but perhaps also in my own run for City Council against incumbent Corey Johnson in 2017, where 10 percent of voters in District 3 did not vote for a candidate for City Council — unusually high for a well-informed district, said one experienced poll supervisor.
Even in the final weeks before Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party primary in June, the City Board of Elections was moving polling stations in communities with large numbers of minorities and people earning low-incomes. With all this happening in our own backyard, we must take our sacred right to vote seriously.
As we all work toward a new progressive future, it is important for everybody to know that standing for reform is a struggle. But by showing up in your polling station and demanding that your vote be cast, you will hold the entire system to account, and ensure your voice is heard in a democracy — something that we should all never take lightly.
Marni Halasa is a lawyer, journalist and professional figure skater, ran in the last election for City Council for District 3 as an independent on the Eco Justice Party. Know where to vote at pollsitelocator.com/search.