The Path to the Presidency: Why is it important to vote?
Every year, many students like you turn 18 and cast their first ballot on Election Day, fulfilling the most basic action in a democratic society. Voting is a fundamental process that keeps our system of government working. Through elections, citizens have the ability to decide on who represents them in government, be it a local official, a state or national representative, or the president.
On Election Day, voters will not only be able to select their representatives in government for the next term, but they also often have the ability to decide on measures like bond issues that grant the government permission to borrow money for construction projects and other developments. And sometimes voters cast their ballots on social issues such as allowing same-sex marriage or banning smoking in restaurants and bars.
Reading up on the issues, the candidates, and researching the ballot is also the responsibility of the citizen voter and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, because it is your voice, with the many others, in unison, that can change the direction of a community, state, nation, and even the world.
Given the importance of elections in the United States, why would do so many people choose not to vote? Why do some refuse to participate in elections when the officials and issues voted on have such strong influence on nearly every aspect of their lives?
Many argue that their vote really doesn’t count. Some say that they don’t know enough about the issues and think they shouldn’t vote. Others still say that they do not know where or how to vote or how to register. News stories about voter ID laws may deter some people from voting.
What do you think of these reasons and how would you respond to family or friends that used them? With a government elected by its citizens and that effects every aspect of our lives from schools to health care to homeland security, voting is an important right in our society. By voting, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate. Enough voices in unison can elect someone to office, reaffirm or even change the course of our government.
Most candidates also have websites that detail their ideas and goals for the office. To find out where to vote, you can contact your local board of elections and they will tell you where to go to vote.
What do you think?
Why is it important to vote? What would you say to your peers or family members to convince them to vote? Do you think you would be interested in volunteering at your local precinct? Have you already voted in an election? If so, what was your experience like? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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