The power of the vote is the power of the people


As the assemblywoman representing District 18, I recognize that the foundation of a thriving democracy is the active participation of its citizens. In the dynamic landscape of my district, the issue of voter turnout emerges as crucial, particularly when it comes to the representation of different age groups and races. This is essential for fostering a connection between the older and younger generations, and closing the gap between the diverse communities in Long Island.
In my role as both the assemblywoman and a proud constituent of the district I represent, I believe it is imperative to address the issue of voter turnout. It’s not just a political duty, but a deeply personal commitment, driven by firsthand experience. I am convinced that our communities require robust representation to address constituents’ needs.
Let’s delve into the reasons behind low voter turnout, because understanding them is crucial. While active participation ensures diverse representation in government, a lack of engagement can result in inadequate responsiveness from elected officials. In our communities, many people do not vote because they feel their concerns are overlooked, creating a disconnection from the political process. Insufficient information about issues or candidates can further contribute to voters’ indifference with the political process.
Before I entered government service, I, like many in our community, observed a pattern in which local politicians were visible only when they were seeking votes. Outside election cycles, they were notably absent, creating a distinct gap between me, personally, and the government. Encouraging voter participation involves more than seeking support; it requires a genuine commitment to addressing community needs, because our community may feel that elected official are just using them for their own purposes. The most important thing those officials can do is ensure that trust in government is built on responsiveness and transparency.
Bridging the gap between political aspirations and tangible support is about actively addressing concerns. Shifting the narrative from an individual-focused “I” run to a collective “we” run is essential, ensuring that the community feels actively involved, and heard, in the political process.

As a state representative, I can attest to the transformative power of civic engagement. The area that became Assembly District 18 — Freeport, Hempstead, Lakeview, Roosevelt, Uniondale, West Hempstead and a portion of Garden City — has a unique history. Prior to 1983, area residents had expressed concerns about a lack of representation and a voice in Albany. In response to the collective call for more representation, the current district was formed, making it possible for our communities’ concerns to be heard. This emphasizes why voter turnout is so crucial — it’s about ensuring that everyone in our diverse community isn’t just heard but has a role in shaping the policies that govern us.
To increase voter turnout, I believe in the importance of engaging voters year-round. This involves continuously providing information to the community, not just during election season. Building trust between elected officials and constituents is crucial, and is done through transparent communication, active listening, and responsive governance.
Creating accessible forums for open dialogue and addressing community concerns further encourages voter participation. It’s essential to foster a sense of civic duty and empowerment, ensuring that people feel that their voices are heard. Building on this perspective, we’ve seen the positive impact of initiatives like “Get Out the Vote.” These initiatives make use of strategies like voter registration campaigns in public spaces targeting underrepresented groups, and efforts to encourage pre-registered voters to participate.
The essence of voter turnout extends beyond mere numbers; it’s about nurturing a collective spirit where every voice, regardless of age or background, resonates in the heart of our vibrant community. As a resident deeply rooted in the community, I am committed to inspiring neighbors to embrace their right to vote, actively contributing to the shaping of our united destiny. Together we foster not just civic participation, but a shared sense of responsibility in building a community where every voice is not only heard but actively contributes to our future.
In our democracy, the power of the vote is the power of the people, and by engaging in initiatives like “Get Out the Vote,” we amplify our shared impact, reinforcing the democratic ideals that bind us together.

Taylor Darling represents the 18th Assembly District.