Why Vote?

We each have different histories and different reasons
Voting Rights

In the beginning of our country, only white male landowners were able to vote. 100 years ago, women were granted the right to vote. It has taken many additional laws for people of color to be able to exercise their right to vote.

Now, anyone who is 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen has the right to vote. In California, if you have been convicted of a felony, you can vote after you have completed parole.

But not everyone who can vote does vote. In the 2016 Presidential election in California, less than six out of 10 people voted out of those who were eligible. The other four out of 10 let other people decide for them. Younger voters especially tend to be less likely to vote.

Why don't people vote? It is often thought that they don't care but that is a myth. We have found that just about everyone cares about something in their community. The number one predictor of whether you vote is if you grew up in a family that voted.

Here are some of the reasons we hear about why people do and don't vote:

Voting & Our Families

In this video, members of the Key to Community Project team share stories about voting for the first time, how they have grown in their knowledge about voting and why it matters now more than ever. This is a four minute video.

The Key to Community project wants to make it easier for you to get the information you need to participate. Remember, voting is NOT like taking a test at the DMV. It's free, you do not have to answer all of the questions and you can ask for help.

In California we vote on people and also on laws, called “propositions” (state) and ballot measures (local). When you vote, you

  • Choose candidates who are committed to working on the issues you and your community care about
  • Vote yes or no on ballot propositions that affect these issues and your community

Voting is ONE way to create change and doesn’t always get the results you want. However, it is always a valuable way to have your voice counted and let your elected officials see that they need to pay attention to you and your interests.

To hear more from the Key to Community team, check out the video below for a 17 minute section from the Getting Ready to Vote workshop. It features people sharing different ideas and about why they choose to vote. Then you can click here to go the page about signing up to vote.

Sign up for updates and more information

  • How to stay involved after the November 3 election
  • Find reliable nonpartisan information
  • Learn about the many ways to help your community