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To vote or not to vote? What’s the big deal?

To vote or not to vote? What’s the big deal?

Johnna Headley, Reporter

Lasso-Votewith Credit

Rights given to us thru US citizenship

With the upcoming presidential primary elections around the corner, presidential candidates are campaigning across the United States trying to persuade citizens for their votes.

Next month a majority of US citizens will be at their designated voting centers casting their vote – fulfilling a duty handed to them. However, many citizens will not be participating in a vote that will potentially change the direction of the country.

Many countries do not have the opportunity that citizens from democratic governments take for granted. Instead they are governed by dictators and lack the freedom to elect their leaders.

Coming from a military family, I strongly believe in the importance of the participation of citizens to vote in presidential elections. This is a unique gift given by democracy and protected by the brave men and women in our military. Without their protection, the US could possibly become dominated by a government that does not give us the freedoms that we often take for granted.

“Why bother? My vote wouldn’t count anyway…”

Many registered, non-voters claim even if they did vote there wouldn’t be a point – someone else’s vote would cancel theirs out. According to a report on the 2012 presidential election, Obama won with 61 million votes, beating Romney’s 59 million votes. If we are to consider how or why Obama won, we would have to look at the 94 million US registered voters that did not vote.

With those 94 million potential votes, the election could have had very different results. With these statistics, the citizens that claim their vote wouldn’t have mattered are seriously mistaken and proven wrong.

“I’ll just vote for a name I recognize…”

In my opinion, the one thing worse than not participating in a presidential election is to be an uneducated voter. Many 18 or 19-year-olds, including myself, will be able to vote in their first presidential primary election this year. The best way a new voter can make their vote count is by researching every presidential candidate and choosing someone that they truly believe should be president, as opposed to someone they feel pressured or encouraged to vote for by family, friends or a ‘brand name’ candidate the media is pushing.

Through democracy, the people are able to elect someone they want to be represented by. Often citizens forget that their vote is their choice, and their duty to vote also relies on them making their own decisions. I personally am excited in participating in my first presidential election and utilizing my voice for our country. I hope, in the 2016 presidential election, that the massive number of 94 million non-voters drops immensely and citizens become more active in their opportunity to have a voice, no matter how small it may seem.

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