Marcus Hill mug

Marcus Hill, Staff Reporter 

Hey, it’s nearly Election Day!

Did you even realize an election is around the corner? 

Judging by voter turnout earlier this year—around 30 percent—I’d assume most people remain uninterested in this election, which takes place Nov. 8. 

I still consider myself young, and I know many folks my age complain that voting doesn’t change anything or that their vote doesn’t matter. 

Neither of those beliefs is correct, but let’s address the latter gripe first. 

“My vote doesn’t matter.” 

Who told you that? Do you believe that foolishness? If you choose not to vote, fine, that’s your choice. 

Just remember, the 2021 Colorado Springs School District 11 bond measure, which would have provided badly needed funds to repair aging schools, lost by 11 votes. If just 11 more people had decided their vote could make a difference, our schools would be in much better shape.

We can look to professional sports leagues such as the NBA, WNBA and NFL—all of which believe your vote matters. 

This year, the NBA won’t hold games on Nov. 8 to ensure there are no distractions on Election Day. It’s a commitment no professional sports league, at least in the U.S., has ever made. 

As for the NFL, in the runup to Election Day, all NFL stadiums will be available to accommodate voters and provide easier voting access. 

Say what you will about the NFL—I’ll likely agree, by the way, because most of their non-football-related decisions have been atrocious—but this is a responsible move that provides its fans and local communities another place to vote. 

The WNBA, certainly proves both that your vote matters and that voting promotes positive change. 

Kelly Loeffler, previous owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and then incumbent Georgia U.S. Senator, spoke out against players bringing “Black Lives Matter” to WNBA courts in 2020. 

During an interview with Fox News, Loeffler called BLM supporters “Marxists” and “divisive.” Some WNBA players didn’t appreciate Loeffler’s statement and decided to act.

On Aug. 4, 2020, many players in the “wubble,” an isolated arena where WNBA players could safely play games, wore black shirts with two words: VOTE WARNOCK. 

Rev. Raphael Warnock was Loeffler’s opponent in Georgia’s Senate race that year and players encouraged Georgians to vote for him. On Jan. 5, 2021, Warnock won his Senate seat. 

Loeffler sold her shares in the Atlanta Dream later that year. 

I’m not saying Warnock won solely based on players’ decision to show their support for Loeffler’s opponent and oust the Dream’s owner. But look how those players helped create positive change.

As a reader of the The Southeast Express, you’d appreciate the local angle on these noble efforts. Again, there are plenty, namely in Harrison School District 2.

In late August, I toured a few HSD2 schools that received money from passage of Measure 4E in 2018, which, among other things, provided $180 million in bond money for HSD2 schools. 

This money has been used to pay for renovations and improvements in schools throughout the district. 

Take Sand Creek International School, which, prior to the measure’s passage, was only kindergarten through fifth grade. 

Following the completion of renovations in November 2019, the school now also offers sixth through eighth grades.

Sand Creek High School got new teaching equipment, lockers, locker rooms, a new gymnasium, classrooms and more. 

More proof of the bond money at work includes Harrison High School, which has renovated bleachers, its gym, a softball field and more. 

At Sierra High School, construction crews recently began breaking ground to update its dilapidated tennis courts, and Sierra announced on Twitter in September that construction will soon begin on a football stadium on its campus. 

The $3 million project will include 1,000 seats, a press box, updated lighting, new turf and a resurfaced track. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2023 football season. 

I could continue, but I’ve proved my point. Your vote matters. 

This election doesn’t just determine who sits in Congress or our local representatives. It benefits your landscape, literally and figuratively.

There are propositions on this ballot that provide more funds to address the homeless crisis, allocate money for affordable housing programs, and allow the legal sale of cannabis inside city limits.

These are all important—and so is your vote.

Don’t feel you lack the power to create change. Our county has many important examples of voting’s impact and even a few examples of where only a handful of voters changed the direction of our nation. 

Register and go make some positive change in your community. Don’t be one of those 11 who stayed home. 

Reporter

Marcus Hill is a reporter for the Southeast Express and Schriever Sentinel. He graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication.