The Voting Experience
Council member Farokhi outlines his voting experience
Voting plays an invaluable role in our American political system. Whether it’s a vote for president or local boards and commissions, casting a ballot shapes the futures of cities, states, and the country.
With the 2020 general election coming up, this series will offer a look at the voting experiences for members of the Atlanta City Council.
Next in our series is District 2 Council member Amir Farokhi, who recalls registering to vote and casting a ballot during the 1996 presidential election.
“I remember rushing to register to vote when I turned 18. There was a public library by my house, and I spent a good bit of my childhood in that public library, so I knew that they had voter registration forms by the entrance way. I think the day after I turned 18, I went to the public library, filled it out and dropped it off in the mail immediately,” Farokhi said about growing up in his childhood home in Marietta. “The public library by my house was the same place I would go to vote. So, I remember standing in line to vote and for the first time feeling like I was an adult.”
“Around the same time, I was also excited that my dad, who became a U.S. citizen in the 1990s, could vote for the first time, especially because he’d been teaching political science at Morris Brown for years. To see him exercise that right along with my mom, who had been voting since the 1960s, was special. He now owned the outcomes in the democracy about which he had been teaching.”
He added that voting and access to the ballot box can reflect the health of the country’s democratic system.
“Whether the issues you care about are hyperlocal, national, or international, the beauty of a democracy is you have the ability to shape the outcomes and the primary way to do that is by voting. If you don’t vote, the health of our democracy suffers greatly, and I think most Americans believe deeply in democracy. Not only are you voting for whatever interests are important to you, but every time you vote, it keeps our democracy healthy,” Farokhi said.
He noted that it’s important for voters to pay attention to each of the contests on the ballot.
“When you go about your day and end up frustrated about something in the world around you, more often than not it’s because of a decision made at the local or state level. Those races — whether it’s for school board, city council or the state legislature — the outcomes of those races can have a massive impact on your ability get to work smoothly, your ability to have good public health access, or to make sure the park is safe for play in. All of these things that make for a high quality of life are determined in down ballot races. To ignore them is to ignore the solutions to a lot of the things that frustrate us.”