Why voting in this election is so important?

Why voting in this election is so important?

Today is an unprecedented election day, not only because of the number of positions at stake, but also because it is the first time that we implement a large number of affirmative actions in favor of historically discriminated groups: people living with disabilities, indigenous people, Afro-Mexicans, Mexican migrants living abroad and members of the LGBTTTIQ+ community, so that their existence, needs and interests are no longer invisible.
It is also the first process in which we implemented the reform on political violence against women based on gender, as well as the constitutional reform of “parity in everything”, which made possible the parity nomination in the candidacies for governorships.

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Today, the right to vote is recognized equally for women and men, but this has not always been the case; women have had to conquer citizenship rights gradually over time. In Athens, for example, only free men over 18 years of age were citizens -that is, women, slaves and resident aliens could not be citizens-, citizenship was acquired by birth; it was considered a privilege that was not available to everyone, only some men could exercise their vote and have a voice in the assemblies so that political power rested only with them.

It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that social movements arose, driven by groups that had been denied their fundamental rights and, thus, also claimed the value of the vote. For example, in the United States, African-Americans obtained the right to vote in 1870, while women were able to exercise their right to vote in 1920. In Mexico, efforts to guarantee political rights -among them the right to vote- have not been easy and have been the result of a permanent struggle. It was from the reforms to Articles 34 and 115 of the Magna Carta that women’s suffrage was recognized at the federal level until 1953.

Several decades later, we repeatedly obviate the value that the right to vote has -something similar to what happens with freedom-, they are conditions that we now have within reach and no one questions; but they are also rights that have involved countless battles of excluded groups or people. The right to equal suffrage represents an invaluable citizen conquest; today, we can affirm that universal suffrage is a minimum condition of democracy and one of the most relevant civic duties in any democratic system, given that it allows the majorities to elect and legitimize our representatives and rulers.

When we vote we not only elect a person, we also decide for a project of nation, of social order and for the future to which we aspire. For this reason, we have to reevaluate the possibility of going to the polls to vote for both women and men.

It is essential that citizens get involved, propose, question and participate, because only in this way can truly democratic changes be achieved. Therefore, co-responsibility for the decisions made at the ballot box is an obligation for all citizens. In order to participate in the future and have an impact on change, it is imperative that we value the power of our decisions at the ballot box. Through our participation we can influence the public sphere and this begins by casting an informed vote, aware of its value and its implications.

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Fighting for the full recognition of rights, for the inclusion of others and for ensuring free and egalitarian environments have been extremely valuable battles for humanity. That is why participation is fundamental: to steer the course of democracy. Only then will we discern whether we are moving forward or simply remain stuck in cycles based on growth and crisis, war and peace, and the rise and fall of our democracy.

Undoubtedly, the struggles that past generations have endured to consolidate all that we have achieved so far have been worth it. We cannot betray that spirit nor forget the road we have traveled; if we truly want to change the environment in which we live, we must first begin by modifying our most immediate reality. Thus, voting becomes a substantive element to advance in this process; to consolidate a better world.

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