On this episode of Why I’m Voting, host Holly Frey sits down with MSNBC News anchor and host of the Modern Ruhles podcast, Stephanie Ruhle, to find out when she started to vote, what got her to the ballot box, and why she thinks participating in elections is such an important civic duty. She admits that though she accompanied her mother to vote as a kid, and even registered to vote at 18, she didn’t really understand the importance of it until a few years ago. “A lot of people with privileged lives don’t realize how important voting is,” she says. “Much of what you depend on, or how you view the world, isn’t at risk.” But now she understands that caring about school budgets, for example, even when you don’t have school-age kids yourself, isn’t really about the kids. “It’s about what kind of country, what kind of world, you want to live in.”
Her view of voting has changed significantly; initially, she thought the presidential elections were the most important ones. But over the years, she’s discovered how important city, county, and state elections are as well. “There are three branches of government….you need to vote on every single possible element and aspect,” she insists. These lawmakers are not only more accessible to their constituents, so you can advocate for policy positions more easily, but the decisions they make sometimes have a greater and more lasting impact than presidents. Legislators you like and vote for might seem to be ineffective, but that may be because “there’s legislation they tried to pass, but were roadblocked by people who ran for positions we never got off our butts and voted for!”
She says she now brings her kids with her to vote, hoping they’ll be more civically-minded than she was. And not only about voting; she points out that with social media, we have more access to lawmakers than ever to make our voices heard, not just when they’re running to get their jobs back every four years, but while they’re working for us, too. “You have the power to influence what kind of country we live in,” she says. “Are you going to choose not to use that power?” Hear more about the importance of the election process, and Stephanie’s personal journey to the ballot box, on this episode of Why I’m Voting.
“Why I’m Voting” features some the biggest stars, cultural influencers and athletes, sharing what matters to them most as the upcoming election approaches, and why it’s so important to show up to the ballot box. The podcast will run weekly through Election Day in November, and listeners will have the chance to talk about why they are voting, and can record and submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message at iHeartRadio.com/vote.