Martha Beck Explains Why Voting Should Be Part of Our Daily Lives

Every time I vote, as I hope we all did last Tuesday, I get a little misty-eyed. For most of history, most people haven’t had voting rights. Feudal systems, slavery, dictatorships, colonialism—so many structures suppressed so many people for so long. When my father was born, American women still didn’t have this basic right. I’m so grateful to everyone who has fought to let my voice be heard.

That said, I sometimes fret that my one little vote may be too little, too late, to change the world in any significant way. Even if my candidates win, will they keep their promises? Will they be overwhelmed by the opposition? And what can I do in the months and years before another election rolls around?

Then I remember. Here’s what I can do: I can keep voting.

The word “vote” comes from the Latin vovere, originally meaning “to vow,” and later, “to make a choice.” As a nation, we can only hold elections every few years. But as individuals, we can make choices and vow to keep them every day, many times a day. If we do that thoughtfully and deliberately, it can add up to a lot of change.

Here are some everyday ways to vote for a better life and a better society:






We all want our political leaders to be upstanding, ethical, fair, brave, and honest. Since we’re all the leaders of our own lives, let’s vow to embody those same virtues. We can choose whatever matches our deepest integrity in a million small ways, every day. So please, whenever you get the chance, go into that booth and cast your ballot. But every year, every day, every minute, keep voting for what you believe.

For more information about Martha Beck, go to

This essay was featured in the Nov. 11th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.




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