Russchelle Moore: Why I #Vote4DCKids

June 16, 2022

It doesn’t matter if it’s a primary or a general election, rain or shine, in person or by mail: my kids are always there as I fill out and cast my ballot. 

My kids come with me to vote because I want them to see just how crucial of a right it is. Family members of generations before me never had the right to vote, so I cast my ballot for them. As a mother and native Washingtonian, I also commit to cast my ballot to #Vote4DCKids because I want to see a better future that my kids, and all kids, deserve.

And with only days until the DC Primary Election, I want other parents to join me and commit to do the same. 

As a PAVE Voting Captain, I express this to all the community members I connect with out in the community. In most conversations, voters are quick and excited to commit to #Vote4DCKids because they agree that voting is a way to enact change through the leaders we support. 

However, some conversations are tough. 

Some people tell me that voting “Doesn’t make a difference, “Is a waste of time” or “Doesn’t matter because DC isn’t a ‘real state.’” Though dismissive, these statements get me more amped up to change their minds. 

I explain that voting does, in fact, make a difference. Over my five years of advocacy with PAVE, I’ve connected more with a growing number of elected officials who hear parents’ voices and commit to amplifying our vision for DC by creating budgets that invest in #ParentPriorities. And though we always need leaders who want change, we also have the power to hold ineffective leaders accountable by voting to replace them. 

When people tell me that voting is a waste of time, I respond that voting in DC is much more accessible and attainable than other states. There are many ways to cast your ballot – mailing it in using USPS or an official drop box, or submitting it in-person at an early center or at a location on Voting Day. Lines to mail-in or drop off your ballot are almost nonexistent and in my experience voting in-person I’ve never had to wait more than 15 minutes to vote. 

Finally, when they tell me that voting doesn’t matter here in the District, I invite them to look at the work parent leaders put in during the 2020 election cycles. In the 2020 June Primary Election, 26.1% of DC residents cast their ballot. Meanwhile, 60% of the 1,246 DC residents who committed to #Vote4DCKids cast their ballots, 260 of whom had not voted in the past three primaries. Every vote matters.

At the end of most of these conversations, I can tell that my responses help sway them a bit, but the one that really wins them over is simple: casting your vote impacts everyone. So why not take just a moment of your day to change our future? 

DC is a beautiful city that should be a state, but we can make it even better. By committing to vote for leaders who care about and prioritize the needs of families, and by casting your ballot in the primary, you will help build this reality for the kids of today, the kids of tomorrow, and the kids of generations to come.

By Russchelle Moore, Citywide PLE and Ward 6 PLE Board member