The Importance of Voting in America

Alex Castillo, Copy Editor

It is no secret that the 2016 Presidential Election is one of unfathomable importance. While there is debate over the policies and personalities of Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, the real issue is voter participation. Voter participation is at an all time low. As this election passes and more elections approach, we must remember why we vote. Voting promises change. Change in our schools, our homes, our communities, our country. It is the vote of the American that causes our country to grow into what we desire it to be.


In the case of Clinton v. Trump, there is no right or wrong way to vote; unless you don’t vote at all. The false idea ingrained into many Americans’ minds of votes not counting is a terror on American freedom. “My vote doesn’t count” is the single most despicable phrase heard around election time. Although a reference to the Bush v. Gore election of 2000 has become overused in mainstream media, it isn’t a bad example.


During the 2000 presidential election, George Bush beat out Al Gore in the state of Florida by just 537 popular votes. In a state of 16.05 million residents at the time, 537 votes equated to 0.0033% of the population. If 538 extra eligible voters had done their civic duty, Al Gore would have won Florida, albeit by one vote, and became the next U.S. President as he would’ve won the electoral vote.


By not voting, you are basically silencing yourself by not selecting your new senator, governor, president or other kind of elected official. This is the exact issue the founders of America had gone to literal war over. It has been a hard earned right that must be exercised in order to remember the struggles faced by a colonial United States in the late 1700s. I personally believe this is especially applicable to women. After 143 years of American independence, women were finally given the right to vote in the year of 1920. The enfranchisement of women is still a new concept, as it has only been in the picture for less than a century. By being a woman and choosing to not vote, this offends the volunteers who fought in the American Revolution and even moreso the women who campaigned relentlessly to be seen as equal in the eyes of the law. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ida B. Wells spent their lives promoting their cause and hoping for the chance to vote. I believe that not voting slowly begins to reverse all of their progress.


To summarize: please vote. It doesn’t matter who you vote for. Just get to the polls and fill out a ballot. Never let your friends and family tell you who to vote for either. Voting is the one time in a person’s life where it is vital to form an opinion. No matter what anyone says, no matter how someone may try to dehumanize your preferred candidate, always vote for who you think is best and whose policies you align with more strongly. While American society may change, the foundations of the government that colonial Americans fought to instate, especially the right to vote, will always remain.