Editorial: Your voice matters in the voting booth

Abortion is rising to be one of the most prominent issues for voters in the midterms as Michigan officially put the right to have an abortion on the November ballot. This creates a new urgency and emphasis on the value of a single vote for a collective decision. 

With abortion coming to the forefront of the ballot and the growing need to determine what lies ahead for those for or against it, people are being put in the position to use their votes for action. 

In a year that many political analysts expected to be a major opportunity for Republican gains in Congress, counterpoints on social issues have swayed several major constituencies toward candidates with progressive social policies.

Where conservative advocates have stressed the financial woes imposed on many Americans by rising inflation and America’s handling of the economy, liberals have stressed the implications of the overturning of privacy rights.

Polls now show the gap closing between these two issues that have consistently ranked as the top matters on the minds of voters heading into November.

In an NPR poll taken between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, inflation was the primary concern for 30% of voters, followed by abortion at 22%. As NPR notes, this is a much narrower gap compared to similar polling in July that had inflation and abortion at 37% and 18%, respectively.

Further polling from CNN found that 66% of Americans did not want the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade, in which the Court established the nationwide right to abortion, overturned. In CNN polling dating back to 1989, the amount of Americans that wanted the decision overturned never rose above 36%. According to their polling, only 17% of Americans would be happy to see it overturned. 36% of those who didn’t want it overturned said they would be angry.

This anger, translated into revived electoral fervor from voters, has been further inflamed by recent additional moves to restrict the procedure, including a proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to establish a nationwide abortion ban 15 weeks into an individual’s pregnancy.

Now that abortion rights are on the statewide ballot, many candidates for office are putting it at the forefront of their campaigns as it engulfs electoral debates and decisions across the state. 

With Michigan having a 1931 trigger law that currently remains on hold amid ongoing legal battles, the November ballot will decide whether the right to an abortion will be codified in the Michigan state constitution and protected.

Events in recent months and the rising momentum on the part of a party largely expected to lose its unified grip on power in Washington highlight that movements to organize voters and galvanize public opinion do have an effect on electoral issues. 

In a political climate in which many outspokenly doubt their ability to make change with a single vote, dramatically shifting political winds due to the emphasis on abortion rights shows the opposite to be true. This issue, these efforts and these times show that every vote does matter and does, indeed, have the power to enact change.