Voting is Vital to our Collective Future

Aiden Lutjen, staff writer

Ah yes, voting. The research on candidates, committing to the task, the time it takes to travel or the process to get a ballot to mail, the possible hours long lines… voting for our government leaders can seriously be an exhausting endeavor, especially with outside pressures like jobs, children, school and many other factors. Although we’ve made progress in voting accessibility in recent years, it’s still very difficult for some people to cast their vote. This especially applies to marginalized groups, who can face anything from voter discrimination all the way to travel restrictions and unfortunately, as of recently, hate crime increases. Despite these obstacles and difficulties, if you have the ability to vote, you absolutely need to. I’ll cover just a few, briefly, despite the laundry list of reasons.

Every vote matters. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t vote solely because they think that their vote won’t have an impact. But you see, here’s the thing: millions of people have the same exact attitude, resulting in millions of voices being unheard. People coming together can have a massive impact and can change the tides for any election. With that being said, I’m happy to say that voter turnout has increased in recent years; about 67% of Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, compared to the 50-60% usual turnout before that according to Statista. There is especially an increase in young voters showing up, contrasting the trend and stereotype of teenagers and young adults not caring.

Voting has an impact on you and your community, even if it’s not immediate. Laws usually take time to go into effect and because of this lack of immediate change, some people feel discouraged to vote because “it doesn’t affect me.” Not only is this a selfish way of looking at things, but it’s also just plain incorrect. One way or another, everyone will be affected by some law some day. Whether the effect is your basic human rights, an effect on your money, an effect on your job or your education, it will happen. You have a say in what happens, don’t waste that ability.

Think something needs to change? Voting is a vital step in change for the betterment of the people. This importance also goes for protesting, activism, education, fundraisers and many other things. All of these things can make a difference in your community, your city, your state and the country at large. Don’t silence yourself.

I get it, sometimes things feel hopeless and like there’s nothing you can do about anything. However, that doesn’t change the fact that purposefully sitting out on voting is frankly pretty selfish. As I mentioned before, the exception to this is the genuine inability to vote – which can be caused by a multitude of reasons – but other than that there truly is no valid excuse. Yes, sometimes all of the candidates suck, you just really don’t like politics or maybe even just a lack of motivation to vote in the first place, but the dire need for people to speak up and demand positive change for the people from those in power is undeniably important. If you’re able to vote, then vote. It’s seriously that simple.