Stop Taking Voting For Granted

Madelyn Cheng

President Barack Obama Voting in 2012

Not considering voting this year? Well, consider again, because there has never been so much ruckus around an election before, and the results may impact the younger generations for years to come. Everyone, Republican or Democrat, is angry, but any of us could change that with a vote. We can’t satisfy everyone, but the least we can do is try.

An election won’t solve all the problems, but depending on the way it swings, it can impact policies for an entire generation. Those policies could easily eliminate certain federal protections for decades. Therefore voting is not just the people’s civil responsibility but it’s also an active right. It’s crucial to upholding democracy and if we the people want to be represented accurately, we need to show up. 

You may not consider my thoughts on voting since I am an 18 year old who is about to vote in her first election ever. So, take it from someone who’s got far more experience than I do. Our very own Economics teacher here at SPASH, Mrs. Anderson, states, “voting is a chance to be heard.” Voting offers the governed to voice which issues need to be solved and addressed as well as represent our values. Without accurate representation, who are our leaders really serving? 

Remember, not everyone was a Constitutional originalist. The nineteenth Amendment is solid evidence that not all Americans were granted the default right to vote. If you’re not aware, the nineteenth Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote, which was only ratified in 1920. 1920 may seem like ages ago, but the United States had already gained independence since 1776. This only allowed white men who owned land the right to vote for 93 years before the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, granting Black men to vote. Yet things like the Grandfather Clause, provisions which old rules apply in existing conditions, and Jim Crow Laws prevented Blacks from voting well into the 1960’s. 

Those who don’t turn out at polls argue that voting is useless and will change nothing. This is a valid reason and a lot of people feel that way. Their reasoning is because of the Electoral College. According to National Geographic, a recent example of this is the 2016 general election. Hillary Clinton had secured the national popular by nearly three million votes, yet Donald Trump became president by winning the electoral votes of key swing states including Wisconsin. 

However, when it comes down to the electoral results, your votes do matter. Most states have a winner-take-all system where the popular vote takes the electoral vote, according to National Geographic. So, an individual vote could significantly change who that electoral vote goes to. Even though you aren’t directly electing the president, your one vote still matters. 

Americans tend to forget that not all countries allow autonomous voting; that there are people who risk their lives for a chance at democracy. Knowing this, we must not take advantage of our Constitutional right, the right that the Women’s Suffrage and Civil Right movements fought fiercely for. Let’s not let their incredible work go to waste and do our part in upholding democracy.