The Importance of Voting
By Kaitlin Lembo
As an American citizen, I make it my duty to vote in elections.
It doesn’t matter what kind of election. If there is an election being held, nothing will stop me from getting to my local voting booth and exercising my right to vote.
The significance of voting lies under the privilege that it has. Many countries do not get the chance to vote for their officials. Countries like North Korea have supreme rulers, and although North Korea holds elections every five years, they essentially have a predetermined leader. There is only one option on the ballot and voting is mandatory.
Nevertheless, many eligible Americans do not flock to the voting booths when it is time. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the 2012 presidential election had a turnout of about 57.5 percent, which is about 5 percent less than the 2008 election turnout rate of 62.3 percent. To break that number down, five million less people voted in 2012 and 93 million citizens did not vote at all.
According to the U.S. Elections Project, these numbers are even lower in preliminary elections. All 2012 turnout figures were lower than 32 percent. Wyoming had a 0.3 percent turnout, the lowest of all 50 states. New York was a little better, at 1.3 percent. The state that had the highest percentage with a whopping 31.5 percent of eligible voters showing up to fill out a ballot was North Carolina.
A good friend of my family once told me that she doesn’t vote because she can’t be bothered. The reason she gave is the same reason that many other people in our country give to avoid voting. The majority of people see voting as insignificant and not worth their time.
The Washington Post published a survey in 2015 that the Census Bureau conducted about why people did not vote in the 2014 midterm elections. It was found that being “too busy” was the number one choice, at 28 percent. The second most common answer received 16 percent of the votes, which was “not interested.” In third place was “disability or illness” at 11 percent.
Analyzing these results, it is incredible that 44 percent of the public chose not to vote due to either being too preoccupied or uninterested. The effect of this is that 44 percent lost a chance to have their voices heard.
Many current college students were not able to vote in 2008 and 2012. We are not responsible for the generations before us not wanting to have a voice. However, now that we are of age, we should rally together and show the world we care about issues that will directly or indirectly affect our lives.
This is the United States of America. We live in the “land of the free.” We need to live up to this and raise our voices. We need to vote. The importance of casting a vote is incredibly obvious. Let’s be the generation that lets the world know what we believe.