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#FREETHEVOTE: Make your voice heard in elections -- because others can’t

Woman has just voted.
Woman has just voted. (2016 Getty Images)

We hear it all the time: Your vote matters — but it’s truer than you could ever imagine.

Did you know there are instances in which a single number of votes were the deciding factor?

When you read these numbers, you’ll be floored.

While these circumstances may not happen often, they do happen, so it’s important to know that each and every vote counts -- in each and every election.

Singer John Legend has founded a campaign called #FREETHEVOTE, which documents the visceral experiences of those who have had their right to vote taken away because of the current criminal justice system.

One of the topics Legend is driving home is the importance of restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, as well as to encourage those who were formerly disenfranchised to register to vote.

In doing this, Legend hopes voters will pay special attention to the country’s criminal justice system, particularly for those who don’t have access or the opportunity to vote.

If you’re quick to shut down Legend’s initiative, consider this:

Three out of five people in jail are legally presumed innocent, awaiting trial or resolution through plea negotiations. Many are too poor to post bail or are there for nonviolent offenses.

By reducing mass incarceration, Legend believes we can reduce wasting taxpayer dollars and instead focus on treating mental health and substance abuse problems, truly tackling the risk of re-offending.

Regardless, by using your voice to cast a vote in elections, you can speak for yourself and those who aren’t able to speak for themselves. And you never know when your single vote could be the one that sways an election.

Click here to register to vote and to learn about requirements on Election Day.


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