Written by Carsie Mendoza, Staff Writer
The 2016 presidential election could very well be considered one of the most divisive and heated elections in United States history.
With a Republican candidate who seems to have no filter and a Democratic candidate, the first woman nominee for a major party whose 30 years in the political spotlight has somewhat tarnished her reputation amongst voters; there has certainly never been an election quite like this before. However, regardless of what party you align yourself with or what values and beliefs you hold, because this election is so decisive, staying home on election day is not an option.
According to a study by the United States Elections Project, in 2012 there were 222.5 million people who were eligible to vote and only 58% of this population cast a ballot. In another study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was discovered that 71% of these voters were above the age of 65. Those who were between the ages of 18 to 24 accounted for 41% of the vote. Finally, it was concluded, based on data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, that among 35 other highly developed, democratic nations, the United States ranked number 31.
Because the United States is a representative democracy, if you do not vote then you do not get your voice heard. Voting is how we can express what we want to be done to change or maintain the country we live in and call home. While some may say that their vote doesn’t matter because they are just one person, that is not true.
When we look back at the 2000 presidential election, we can see that after 100 million votes were cast, George W. Bush won the presidency by only 538 votes. Also, while the presidency is decided by the electoral college and there are different rules for every state, the electors vote based on who their constituents vote for. If no one turns out to vote, they can’t do their job.
If we don’t vote, then our representative democracy falls apart. One might also think that since they are a Millennial, they hold no power in the outcome of an election and again, that is not true. As of 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that Millennials officially replaced the Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States. This means that if people who are from ages 18-30 go out and vote, they can dramatically affect what happens in the upcoming election.
Voting in elections should not just apply to presidential years either, but every year that an election occurs. A clear example of what happens if you don’t vote can be seen today in Congress. According to PBS News, only 21% of millennials did not vote in the 2014 midterm elections and there was only a voter turnout of 31% as a whole. Republicans achieved full control of Congress and caused the gridlock we see in Washington D.C today.
For most of our lives, we have lived under the policies that the Baby Boomers have decided were the best for the nation and our lives. Although we might agree or disagree with these policies, we should all agree that it is our job to help our country move forward. If you do not vote, it is of my opinion, that you have lost your ability to complain what the outcomes are.
In short, it is important that you vote. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the sake of America.
Photo source: WNPR