Election day is rapidly approaching, and on Nov. 8 all eligible American citizens will flock to the polls. Each and every person will select who they desire to lead the country for the following four years. Then they will leave, proudly sporting their red, white and blue oval sticker that declares “I voted.”
Across the country, adults will climb in bed that night revelling at how lucky they are to participate in the cornerstone of democracy. They may worry if the candidate they chose will win. But sleep quickly overtakes them, because every single person is comforted by the fact they did all they could to make a difference in the future of the country.
But that would only be true in a perfect world.
In reality, the 2008 US Census Bureau recorded only 45 percent of adults are voting in elections. In addition to that, only half of eligible adults from ages 18 to 29 vote, making up a whopping 19 percent of participating voters, according to politico.com.
The Harbinger believes that those numbers are far too small, specifically in the millennial age group. As the rising generation of voters, it is our responsibility as the youth population to take the opportunity to participate in elections and change the tide of low voting turnouts.
Voting is a critical part of American democracy. America prides itself in that ideology and rightfully so. When there are still countries, like North Korea, Egypt and Iran, ruled by dictatorships, it’s a powerful thing to live in a nation that is a reflection of its citizens views. Yet, it’s something that Americans tend to forget or take for granted.
When only half of the eligible population shows up on election day, democracy isn’t truly effective. The results are no longer the reflection of the majority of the population, they are a reflection of the meager amount of voters that cared enough to take the time to voice their opinion about the future of the country.
It’s understandable to feel like your vote is only one out of millions, and that it won’t really make a difference. And it can be especially discouraging when you live in a state that is traditionally republican or democrat, and you support the opposing party. However, it is your responsibility to go and represent your party even if it is the minority. How can you ever expect there to be political change if you don’t even voice your opinion?
The saying “every vote counts on election day” came about for a reason. While your vote may be one grain of sand in a beach, each of those grains of sand can accumulate to becomes a force that enacts change.
We also recognize many people choose not to vote if they don’t agree with the major candidates. But there are more parties than just democrat or republican, and if you feel you don’t agree with both, do your research about other parties. It is your duty as a citizen to educate yourself about which candidate you identify most with, no matter their party affiliation, and then vote.
It is time for a change. As more students cross the threshold into adulthood, we ask you to keep in mind the importance of voting. It is an opportunity for citizens to make a difference, and participate in the ideology our country was built upon. The best way to effect change is action, and in this case that action is voting. It’s our civic duty, and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted.