We have all heard the statements “my one vote won’t matter” and “both candidates are corrupt so what's the point?” In reality, if all of us thought this way, no official would ever be chosen. According to Wikipedia, only 55.5% of eligible American voters voted in the last presidential election. That means that close to half of the people eligible to vote chose not to have a voice in electing their own leaders! Voting is so important, especially in this year's election, because both candidates have very opposing views. Therefore, whoever is elected will administer policies that greatly impact our country whether it's for better or worse.
Some countries' citizens are not able to vote like we can. Many countries around the world, like China, Egypt, and Syria, have political systems where leaders are chosen by other government officials or the people “vote” with only one candidate's name on their ballot. Because the people don't have the opportunity to choose their leaders, they don't have a say in what they want for their country and can only hope their ruler has similar morals to the majority and does what is best for their country. In America, we have the privilege to elect officials who reflect the majority of our morals and beliefs and work together to help make our country what we want it to be. Women only obtained the right to vote in 1920, a result of continuous protesting and movements that started in the 1800s. Although African American men were given the right to vote in the 1870s, barriers were still established to prevent them from being “eligible.” This issue took nearly a century to be abolished when the Voting Rights Bill was finally passed in 1965. Voting is a right that generations of Americans have fought long and hard for and we shouldn't take it for granted.
Another reason to vote is because one vote could make all the difference in determining whose president, due to the way our voting system works. Every four years on November 3rd, citizens vote for their preferred candidate, and then a group called the Electoral College votes. Each state nominates a certain number of electors, who all make up the Electoral College. These electors cast votes based on the interest of the majority vote of the state, with 270 votes needed to win the presidency. To make this fair, the number of electors in each state is proportionate to population. Because the electoral college makes the final vote, many people have argued the popular vote is meaningless because there have been elections where one candidate won the popular vote and the other candidate won the electoral vote. Because the Constitution names the winner of the electoral vote as the victor, the candidate who won the popular vote lost and ‘the American people’ were disregarded. Although this has happened before, like in 2016, by voting, we influence the electors' vote and pressure them to vote for the candidate that won the popular vote in each state. Since the electors’ vote represents the people of your state, it is important for everyone to vote even if your preferred candidate is likely or not likely to win your state because it increases the chances of your elector voting for the candidate you want. One vote can make a huge difference in determining who wins the popular vote, greatly influencing the electoral vote.
The candidates running in this year's election have very different approaches to essential issues including climate change, the economy, and the pandemic, so if you do research on their policies and beliefs and compare them to yours, you’ll be able to decide which candidate you are most aligned with. Once you determine which candidates’ policies you are most in line with, the best way to support your morals is by voting and allowing yourself to back the candidate who wants to fix the issues you care most about. Voting is the best way to advocate for the change you want to see and have a voice in shaping society and our country! If you are over 18, please vote whether it be by mail or in person. Let your voice count! If you don't vote for the change you want to see, who will?