In the 2012 election, 19.9 percent of 18-29 year olds casted ballots, according to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). It was the lowest young adult turnout rate ever recorded. That is in contrast to the 45 percent turnout of that age group in the 2014 election. In 10 states, CIRCLE predicts that “youth can have a decisive influence on the outcome of the race” in 2016.
It seems as if everywhere we turn, young people are being pressured to vote. The movement has even turned to social media. On Voter Registration Day, Sept. 27, Twitter started the “iRegistered” hashtag to encourage users to register to vote. Everyone is telling you “to” vote but not why you “should” vote.
Voting is a way to have your voice and opinion heard. By casting your vote, you have a say in who runs this country.
The presidential election only happens every four years. This means your next chance to choose a president will be in 2020. Whoever is elected will be in office for four years. For some, this election is the first chance you have to vote. There was a time where the right to vote was only designated to a privileged few citizens in this country. Our ancestors fought long and hard for you to have the ability to vote, especially the right for all races and women through the Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage movements. The military continues to fight to protect your 15th Amendment right to vote, which says you have the right regardless of “race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
The president is the leader of the free world and every decision he or she makes impacts you directly or indirectly. The president not only leads our country but also represents our nation in international affairs. Our commander in chief constructs and maintains our relationships with other countries. The president should be someone respectable, honest, social and knowledgeable.
By not voting, you relinquish your voice. You opt out of choosing the person that represents your country and in turn represents you as an American. In the event that something goes wrong or doesn’t go how you want it to, you have to live with the fact that you had no part in the decision of choosing the president. If you don’t like the president’s actions or decisions, you can vote against him or her in the next election—four years later. Protesting can help demonstrate your opinion but in the end it’s the vote that counts the most.
Your voice does matter. Even in the grand scheme of things, individuals comprise a whole as a country and as one nation. Every vote matters and counts toward the final decision of president. If there are no votes, then there is no election. Without elections there is no democracy. Without an elected president there is no government, only anarchy.
Registering to vote isn’t as difficult as it once was. Now registering can be done online or even on your phone. There are opportunities on campus to register or you can cast an absentee vote from your hometown.
There is still time left. The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 11. Register today and vote Nov. 8 to have your voice heard.