With Election Day fast approaching, we asked the Harvard Law School community why they vote. The responses were both personal and civic-minded. “Voting is essential to any well-functioning democracy,” said Dean John F. Manning ’85. “I hope that all eligible Harvard voters will take part in the important process of shaping the future of this nation.”

Visit Harvard Votes Challenge to learn more about the Harvard University initiative to increase voter registration and participation among students, staff, and faculty.

“Our democracy is a precious experiment that demands participation. As a student at HLS, I developed a practice of offering my opinion when asked to, and sometimes even when nobody asked for it. That is why I vote.”

Kristi Jobson ’12, Assistant Dean for Admissions and
Chief Admissions Officer

“Votes fuel the engine of democracy. I vote because fostering progress in our communities requires participation at all levels—federal, state, and local.”

Omeed Alerasool ’22

“I’m pretty sure I learned to love voting because of bake sales. My parents took me to the polls every election day when I was a child, and there was always a bake sale in the elementary school where they voted. So early on, I came to associate voting with brownies. And when stickers became part of the deal, my love was complete. Voting = brownies and stickers. What’s not to like?  Of course, as I grew up, I came to love voting for other reasons: the chance to have a say in how our government is run. The opportunity to participate in our civic life. The fundamental right—denied to so many even to this day—to stand up for what I believe. This year, there was no brownie or sticker. I voted by mail the very day my ballot arrived. And I have never been more excited to do it. As Bob Schieffer of CBS, quoting his mother, has said, ‘Go vote. It makes you feel big and strong.’”

Susannah Barton Tobin ’04, Managing Director of the Climenko Fellowship Program, Assistant Dean for Academic Career Advising,
and Lecturer on Law

“I vote because it is the most powerful tool we have as citizens. There is a reason why people have devoted their lives fighting for the right to vote. And likewise there’s a reason why some have devoted their lives to preventing just that.
Rather than let someone else decide my future for me, I vote to help influence
our collective future.”

Mark Haidar J.D./M.P.P. ’23

“I vote because I want my parents to have affordable access to healthcare. I vote because pre-existing conditions need to be covered by insurance companies. I vote because I hope that one day everyone in our country will have affordable healthcare and not have to decide between paying for a doctor’s visit and/or medication or paying for food. So women can make their own choices about their bodies. So parents can afford to send their children to childcare or preschool. So people can afford a higher education and have access to better housing and jobs. This year I vote, because we can’t let another 8 million people get sick and hundreds of thousands more people die over the next several months. Lastly, I vote because everyone should have fair and easy access to vote themselves.”

Carrie Ayers, ITS, and HLS Green Team

“As a citizen, I consider voting as a basic duty. And I vote because my ancestors fought for the right of self-determination. But my ancestors also kept this right from women, from people of color, from the indigenous peoples on this land long before my ancestors colonized it. This right is still kept from some people—those convicted of felonies or who are citizens but live in US territories rather than States. And this right is denied in practice, if not in law, to many more than that—through voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other nefarious means. So I also vote to effect change. I vote to co-create the country I want to live in, with equal rights and opportunities for all people. I vote for the country my ancestors said they wanted to create, although I know that what they said and what they meant weren’t always the same thing. I vote to continue the evolution of this country towards it’s espoused ideals—liberty and justice for all—and to be a good ancestor to those that follow.”

Tracy Blanchard, Program Coordinator,
Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program

“I vote because I see it as my civic duty to actively participate in our democracy, not just at the federal level, but at the state and local level as well. Voting is a way of making your voice heard and letting the government know what is important to you, and can be one of the first steps towards progress.”

Gloria Alonzo, Human Resources Programs Specialist

“As an American I am grateful for the right to vote and feel a profound responsibility to protect the future of our country. My vote is for a healthy future for our children, a loving community of all people, and a beautiful blue planet where all life can thrive.”

Sandra Mays, Faculty Assistant