5 Reasons Why Your Vote Matters in 2020 - CARE

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5 Reasons Why Your Vote Matters in 2020

Three people stand in front of the U.S. Capitol. One holds a sign that reads

Photo: Liz Ligon/CARE

Photo: Liz Ligon/CARE

In 2020, it’s time we all commit to creating a just and equal world for all. As advocates, as a community, as a nation, we can’t wait any longer.

Elections matter. CARE advocates know that when you engage with candidates on the issues and amplify your own voice, you send a powerful message that you are passionate about ending global poverty and creating a more just and equal world.

That’s why it’s so important to vote. Your voice matters as the nation gears up for the 2020 elections. Every day, CARE works shoulder to shoulder with communities around the globe to fight poverty and deliver lasting change. At the same time, CARE Action seeks to fight poverty with the help of thousands of constituent voices nationwide advocating for U.S. policy reforms that will ensure current and future generations benefit from the change we achieve today.

Creating change for a better world – from ending global poverty to empowering women and girls to live a life free from violence – starts with leaders in Congress and in the White House who will champion global issues. Candidates and members of Congress listen to voters, and we know that even a few voices can make a big difference.

So, why does your voice and your vote matter in 2020? Read on to find out and learn how to get engaged and start shaping candidates’ views on important global issues, like gender equality and U.S. global leadership in emergencies, and building back a more just and equal world.

1. The world is facing the worst humanitarian crises we’ve seen since World War II, with nearly 80 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, while the spread of COVID-19 threatens to hit the most vulnerable communities hardest.

A man with a single tear rolling down his cheek wears a gray stocking hat and a surgical mask over his mouth.
Photo: Paddy Dowling/CARE

The overwhelming impact of existing crises and the spread of COVID-19 mean refugees and other crisis-affected communities are in critical need of urgent and sustained support. One in every 45 people — 168 million — are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, the highest figure in decades. Congress can and must ensure the U.S. continues to provide robust, needs-based humanitarian assistance, and protect vital foreign assistance funding that represents roughly one percent of the federal budget but saves countless lives around the world. Funding cuts will only become reality if Congress agrees to them, which is why we need congressional candidates from both sides of the aisle standing up for a robust international affairs budget.

2. Violence against women and girls is a global issue that demands international attention, especially as COVID-19 threatens to make gender-based violence even worse.

A woman in a muddy street holds an infant in a sling infant of a cinderblock building.
Photo: Josh Estey/CARE

An estimated one in three women globally will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime, which can include domestic violence, rape, and child marriage. This violence persists in communities around the globe, and as the world’s refugee population continues to rise, women and girls are even more likely to experience physical and sexual abuse on the road to safety. Our leaders have the tools to end this violence by supporting and passing legislation like the Safe From the Start Act, which would solidify the U.S. as a leader in preventing and addressing violence against women in emergencies. This is increasingly important as global lockdowns and movement restrictions due to COVID-19 leave more women unable to get the help and support they need Candidates need to know that voters across the country support this kind of legislation and are looking for leaders who will take a stand for women and girls everywhere.

3. Globally, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty – and most of them are women and girls.

A woman in Tanzania stands in a field of maize.
Photo: Timothy Buckley/CARE

CARE knows that at its root, poverty is caused by the unequal distribution of power, resources, and opportunities for women and girls, especially in places where women can’t work, go to school, access health care, or make their own decisions. The record number of U.S. female candidates elected into office in the 2018 midterms is proof that women’s voices are intensifying, and we need them to know that voters want to see them use their voice to speak up for policies that make #WomenEqual worldwide.

4. Every 104 seconds, a woman dies from a pregnancy-related complication. Many of these deaths are preventable, yet U.S. support to prevent maternal and child deaths has come to a halt.

A mother holds her infant while a healthcare worker touches the baby's head in a clinic in Bangladesh.
Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE

In 2017, CARE denounced the U.S. State Department’s decision to cut off funding to the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides life-saving health care to women and families globally, including voluntary family planning and safe delivery services. Today, women in some of the most fragile humanitarian settings still lack basic access to maternal health services, and the COVID-19 pandemic further impairs the ability of the global health community to meet family planning needs. We need elected officials who will support healthy moms and healthy societies. Raising these critical issues now can help ensure that new members of Congress come to Washington ready to defend critical maternal health programs.

5. Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, with the number of people facing food crisis likely to double as a result of COVID-19.

A pregnant mother sits on a wooden chair while two small children with plates of food in front of them sit on the dirt floor beside her.
Photo: Timothy Buckley/CARE

By the end of 2020, 265 million people are likely to face starvation, and the picture for women is even worse. Under normal circumstances, women already bear the brunt of hunger, comprising 60% of the world’s hungry. At the same time, if women had the same access to resources and information as men, they could help feed entire communities and end global hunger. Lawmakers have the power to advocate for gender equality and small changes to U.S. food aid that saves lives and ends global hunger, and we need to make sure they know that voters are paying attention.

 

In 2020, we need every voice speaking in unison. We need every single person who cares about the eradication of poverty and ending social injustice to demand that our leaders make gender equality front and center in their agendas to build a more just and equal world. Most of all, we need action.

Visit CARE’s Civic Action Center to check your voter registration, register to vote at your current address, meet your candidates, find updated polling and election information in your state, and more.