Elections: The Importance of Voting

Staff Editorial

On Tuesday November 8th, 2016, The United States will hold the Presidential Election between Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Candidate Donald Trump. The process of who will be elected to the office will be decided by…..
You.

Not the billionaires, not the government, but you. Voters are the only ones who decide the outcome of this and any election. Yet many voters believe they don’t decide who’s elected and therefore, it’s pointless to even vote. However, those who are able to vote must recognize the harms of not voting before it is too late.

The problem begins when people of certain groups decide not to vote, subtly influencing others to do the same. All demographics tend to act similarly, because people of similar groups spend more of their time together than apart. For example, if the majority of people in a given community say voting is pointless, others would become more likely to believe the same thing.

Currently, entire groups vote at different percentages. According to the Census Bureau, voter turnout differences can be explained with three main factors: race, education level, and age. For example, while only 40% of people aged 18-29 voted in the 2016 election, over 70% of people aged over 60 voted. To put it into perspective, if the youth had the same percentage, Bernie Sanders would have been nominated instead of Hillary Clinton.

Politicians know this, and cater what they say to those who actually vote. First and foremost, being a congressman, senator, or even being president is a job. If they want to keep their jobs, they have to listen to the people who put them in office—the people who actually vote. For example, if a person were running a store, would they listen to feedback from people who come in and buy groceries or the people who stay outside and complain? If you don’t vote or contribute money for a campaign, you truly have no power in deciding what laws or policies a candidate acts on.
In this election especially, people have become dissatisfied with the political process. They are seeing both options as terrible and think that voting is choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s that moment where democracy falls apart. Dissatisfaction with this election can spread locally, to state and city wide elections. When people think that voting is so meaningless that they might as well not, then people across the country lose their most powerful tool to make real change.

Too big a problem in our country today is people saying that the system’s broken and that there’s no way to make change. When the pilgrims came here hundreds of years ago, they came from a place with a King whose single decisions were the law. To escape that, and unknowingly change the future of government forever, our founding fathers created the Constitution, ensuring Americans would have the right to vote—the right to have their voices heard. To honor their courage and action, we have to continue to be involved. So if you’re 18, get registered and then go vote. If you aren’t, continue to be involved politically in whatever way you can.