I vote because it gives me a voice in the quality of life for my family now and into the future. For years, I drove four hours from out of state to Cherokee to vote in the tribal elections. Today, my older son drives 10 hours to get here to vote. Now, I live on the Qualla Boundary and I appreciate the convenience of being able to vote in Yellowhill. I also appreciate the convenience of voting in the county, state, and federal elections at the Cherokee-Whittier voting precinct at the Birdtown Recreation Complex.
Right now, there is a greater need than ever for leadership. Of course, our voices matter at the local tribal level. But, our lives are also impacted by the elected officials in the county, in the state of North Carolina and at the federal level in Washington, D. C. A larger voter turnout creates a stronger voice for local, state, and federal funding of schools, hospitals, and other essential services that affect our area. In fact, Nov. 3 is one of the most important elections that I can remember. We all know first-hand of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our tribal health systems and its impact on our economy – illness and lost lives, tribal offices and schools closed, businesses closed, workplaces closed and increased families in need. And, if that isn’t enough, racial and social justice concerns peaked locally and nationally. Getting back on our feet will take a long time, even years. And, this means there’s a lot of work to be done.
To rebuild our communities and our Nation, we need to elect effective and responsible leaders. If you are not a registered voter, I encourage you to become one. If you have a valid North Carolina driver’s license, you can go online to the NCDMV site to register to vote. I plan to vote absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 election, and I have requested an Absentee Ballot Request Form, and I plan to vote early in October. I encourage you to vote absentee ballot and vote early. On June 24, the Cherokee One Feather published an opinion piece entitled “Commentary: Voting by Absentee Ballot” by Mary K Buranosky of Whittier. The commentary explains the process, and I encourage you to read it.
I don’t believe that anyone knows when we will be out from under this pandemic nor when we will recover financially. It will be a long time for our support systems to overcome enormous loss of income
and, it will require patience that many of us do not have. We continue to be stressed on the uncertainty of our futures and the toll it has taken on our children. We are a resilient people and I know that we will survive this, too.
Our voices matter more than ever before. If you are a registered voter and you vote, you have that voice now.
Carmaleta Littlejohn Monteith