Everyone Should Cast a Vote

People wait in line to cast their vote in Georgia's preliminary election, June 9, 2020.

(Photo/Elijah Nouvelage)

People wait in line to cast their vote in Georgia’s preliminary election, June 9, 2020.

Jade Castro, Staff Writer

Voting has been a right for U.S. citizens since the beginning of democracy. However, nearly half of the population does not use their right to vote in local, state, and national elections. 138 million people voted in the 2016 presidential election, only 58.1% of the eligible people to vote in the nation. This lack of voter turnout is startling. It makes you wonder: do people not realize how much their vote matters to the younger population? Everyone that is able to vote needs to take advantage of it. 

I encourage my peers to vote in the upcoming presidential election not only because I am unable to vote, but because this election determines the next four years of my life. Living as a woman with minority heritage, voting can determine my future rights. 

Presidential elections can drastically affect women and minorities. The right to an abortion has been a controversial topic over the years. With the concern of this medical procedure not being available, it is vital for people to vote, not only in the presidential election, but in state elections. 

The 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v Wade protected a woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government action. As a woman, I would like to have the option of an abortion if put in the situation, and I want all women to have this option as well. 

Moreover, with my minority status as Hispanic, it is imperative that the person in the presidential seat does not capitalize off of racism. Islamophobia is very prevalent in the U.S. and it does not fade away when our current president advocates for this ideology.

Many students below the age of 18 are becoming more educated in the field of politics, and it frustrates them to not be able to cast their votes. Voting is vital to the younger generations as it influences their future and impacts their childhood. 

Considering the other half that does not vote in elections, there could be many possibilities as to why. It could be due to the 21 million U.S. citizens that do not have government-issued photo identification. This is because ID cards are not available to everyone. Residents living in U.S. territories are also prohibited from voting, even though the presidential decision will affect them. These places include Guam, the Virgin Islands, the North Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. More reasons such as not being a U.S. citizen, being a felon, or if someone is considered mentally incapacitated restrict people from voting. Not allowing them to vote means that only the people who can vote decide their future. Voting for the right candidate is crucial because the outcome of the election can seriously impact those who cannot vote. Casting a vote not only affects individuals too young to vote, but also those who are not given the chance to vote. 

Taking a look at the two presidential candidates, the Republican nominee Donald Trump is riding on conservative ideals. In 2016, he built his campaign on building a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border to prevent undocumented immigrants. This idea of keeping undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. is still a top priority for his 2020 campaign. Moreover, President Trump’s other beliefs on issues in the US are as follows: Obamacare is a disaster, climate change is simply a hoax, taxes should be reduced for everyone, and the Black Lives Matter movement is trouble. Acting on any of these ideas will affect the future of the entire nation. If re-elected, Trump wants to continue his so-called “success” from the past four years; Trump plans to “keep America great”.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden arguing in the 2020 presidential election on September 29. (Photo/BBC)

In contrast, the Democratic nominee and Barack Obama’s former vice president, Joe Biden, has very different views than the current president. Biden, who dropped out of running in the 2016 election after his son passed away, promises to reverse the problems Trump has reportedly caused. Biden supports raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, taxing wealthier people at high rates, and believes that more investments should be made in community colleges. He also supports the Black Lives Matter movement and wants to add heavier laws on owning a firearm, and believes climate change is a real thing affecting our environment. 

High school seniors across the country are turning 18 and nationally, at this age, the voting rate is less than half. An anonymous State High senior, who has just recently turned 18, recommends voting to her fellow classmates. She has plans to register to vote and is sure to place her voice in the 2020 presidential election. 

“My stance on voting is that it gives everyone a chance to make a difference”, she said.

Voting gives young adults their first opportunity to make a change in the country.  She explained how voting is especially vital right now because it decides who is next to take on the challenges of a global pandemic.

A woman voting in Cambridge, Ohio for the first round of elections that took place. (Photo/Justin Merriman) 

“Selecting a president who will help American citizens come out of this whole thing stronger is very important right now,” she added. 

American citizens who have been eligible to vote for several years also have to decide every election if they are going to cast their opinion. The majority age group that voted, the baby boomers (71 years old and up), accounted for about 70 million of the votes in the 2016 presidential election. The amount of millennials voting (ages 24 – 39 in 2020) is projected to decrease for this upcoming election. Looking back at the 2016 presidential elections, roughly 4% of Generation Z voted, mainly due to the majority being under the age of 18. However, in 2020, Generation Z is projected to have a greater voter turnout than millennials. 

Registering to vote has been made easier within the past years. By Googling “register to vote” and clicking on the vote.gov link, you’ll be taken to a website that lists voting options for certain states. Registering to vote is made available for everyone over the age of 18.  

People need to get their voices out there; they need to be heard. Voting changes the lives of not only the people who exercise their ability, but also those who are not eligible to vote. 

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