This is the final piece of a four-part series titled “Mavens4Change,” featuring Rima Shahid, the CEO of Women4Change Indiana.
Standing on the steps at the Indiana Statehouse after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I saw what outrage looks like.
I saw thousands of Hoosiers demanding the attention of elected officials. I saw people from every corner of the state holding up hand-lettered statements of dismay and disgust. I saw men and women who had never attended a political event standing alongside protest veterans. And I saw frustrated people who promised they would remember that day on election day.
It’s time to make good on that promise.
I know, I know: It’s tempting to ignore midterm elections. They don’t get the same level of hype that elections get when the presidency is up for a vote, and it can seem like there aren’t any big races on the ballot. It’s easy to think this election isn’t that important.
But it is, for a number of reasons.
First of all, this is our opportunity to demonstrate that the outrage I saw on the Statehouse steps wasn’t just noise. We need to translate our immeasurable frustration into measurable votes, showing our elected leaders that we believe women in Indiana should have full reproductive rights. Furthermore, we should accept a challenge issued by Indiana Speaker Todd Huston after the General Assembly passed SB1, which banned abortions in Indiana. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of his comment was that, if people aren’t happy with the law, they should vote. So, let’s do just that.
Second, we need to make it clear that women are a force to be reckoned with on election days. We need to turn out in record numbers to let anyone who plans to run for office know that women’s votes can be deciding votes.
Third, we need to show the world that young Hoosiers are as engaged in the civic process as they are in civic protest. In the 2020 election, only 29% of Hoosiers aged 18 to 24 voted. Imagine the changes they could drive if every young adult who voted two years ago made sure to visit the voting booth again and took along someone who didn’t vote back then.
Finally, we need to acknowledge that these elections do matter. One of Indiana’s U.S. Senate seats is up for consideration, as are all of our U.S. House of Representatives seats. Plus, every Indiana House seat is up for election, as are half of the seats in the Indiana Senate. While those are “only” state-level offices, the decisions made in those chambers matter to Hoosier women. If previously unengaged Hoosiers cast ballots in unexpected numbers, we could send a strong message to the people who want our votes: Hoosier women have power and they’re willing to use it.
Be sure you’re prepared by downloading our 2022 Voter Guide and learning the key questions to bring up to the candidates in your district. Then, check out your ballot and voting location at Indianavoters.in.gov.
I saw a lot of passion on the Statehouse steps that day a few months ago. Now I want to see that passion put into action in the voting booth. After all, in a democracy, that’s where change begins.