By Marissa Alfano
Voting is one of the most sacred and fundamental rights we, as American citizens, possess. People across the globe have fought for hundreds of years to gain this right to voice their opinions to a government that will be responsive to their desires.
Even in America, African Americans and women struggled for the majority of our history to gain this precious right. People have immigrated here from other countries for this reason alone and Americans are currently serving our nation, fighting abroad in the military so that other countries may also enjoy the right to vote.
It is always important to exercise this right, but with this being a critical presidential election year, it becomes more crucial than ever that people vote and send a message to our representatives about what sort of policy they would like to see in the next four years.
The democratic system of government is enlightened, fair and wonderful. It is a blessing to live in a democratic republic, especially when considering the few rights citizens have under more authoritarian regimes. It is a system that allows the average person to have a say and that protects the rights of all. However, it can only work when people participate.
Only those who express their opinions by voting are heard. Representatives want to help their constituents, but they cannot read minds. They vote in Congress based upon the way they think their constituents would want them to.
If people do not vote or send letters to their congressmen telling them how they feel about certain issues, how will they know what their constituents want?
This convolutes the very purpose of our democratic republic. Those who do not vote aren’t heard, and those who do vote, have the power of their vote magnified in the absence of any opposition. For example, our generation has the lowest turnout rate at the polls. We don’t vote and we don’t get results.
Retirement age individuals have the highest voter turnout rate, which means they have much more influence over policy in this country than we do because they tell politicians what they want and they exercise their power to vote against them if they don’t get it.
I find it very disheartening that people my age, the future of America, do not take the time to become educated about the issues and to vote. We are often the first to complain, but we don’t do anything about it.
If you don’t vote, how can your voice be heard? How can you complain that things aren’t the way you want them to be? This is a serious problem in our country today.
Hearing people say they don’t like any of the candidates so they are abstaining from voting never makes sense to me. At least if you pick a candidate that most aligns with your values you will have someone on your side that you can work with towards favorable results. At the very least, you know you’re blocking the candidate you like the least from an avenue to political power.
By not voting you are leaving it up to everyone else to decide who should represent you. Why wouldn’t you want a say?
In this country we are so blessed to have the privilege to vote on Election Day, to have our voices be heard by representatives that actually care to act on them and to be free to influence our government.
By choosing not to vote, you are lessening the effectiveness of our democratic republic, forfeiting the chance to exercise an essential right and taking yourself out of the equation as far as having your voice heard on political decisions.
So come Election Day, every single American should be at the polls.
I’m not saying everyone has to vote the same way I do or share my opinions on certain issues. What I am saying is that, if you want things changed, you’re going to have to make that known. The best way to do this in our country is to vote.
Then you have the right to complain about things not going your way. You have a right to vote congressmen out of office that don’t represent you the way you want them to by voting someone else in. You have a right to the full advantages of this democratic system of government.
This right is a privilege; a privilege that I hope you will utilize this November. Our generation deserves a say and we can have one if we just make the effort.