Contrasting column: your vote matters

By Meena Morar

[email protected] Meena is the online editor and junior staff writer whose interests are in english and history studies. Meena enjoys to delve into intelligent conversations with a deeper understanding as the goal. She is also the captain of the Debate team.

Posted: November 8, 2016

Your vote changes history, don’t waste your vote

The 2016 presidential race will go down in history, with all of its countless memes and fact checking. Amid the shocking twists and turns of the campaign, voters must remember that one of the candidates will ultimately be elected president of the United States.

Many voters find themselves sick of all the jokes and have decided to not vote at all. The harsh reality, however, is that each vote influences not only your history, but the history of those around you as well. It is necessary to vote in an election – and not for a third party candidate.

If you’ve heard anything along the lines of the dismissal of voting because it “doesn’t actually matter,” think again.

Unfortunately, the national voter turnout of 62 percent in 2012 decreased to 42 percent in the 2014 midterm, the lowest turnout rate the Census Bureau has ever recorded. In fact, in the 2014 elections, only 18 percent of adults ages 18-24 voted while 60 percent of adults 65 or older voted.

In Minnesota, there was a general voter turnout of 76.42 percent in 2012, which later shifted to 50.51 percent in 2014, a significant drop.

“Voting is modeled behavior,” Jana Kooren, public education and communication director of the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said. “If you start voting at a young age, you are more likely to continue voting for the rest of your life.”

Kooren pointed out two examples of a recount in recent history where every vote actually did count.
“The 2000 presidential election was ultimately decided by less than 500 votes in Florida in Bush v. Gore,” she said. “There was also a recount in Minnesota, for Franken v. Coleman in 2008, which came down to less than 1000 votes for a U.S. Senate seat. That is a very small margin for a very important seat. I sat in the recount for 10 days and saw how important every vote is as you see every single vote being recounted. Every vote definitely can count.”

The undeniable truth is our next president will affect the younger population more directly and more long term, and the younger population isn’t even voicing their opinion. How can we expect our wishes to be valued if we do not vote in the first place?

Different generations tend to hold different political views. Younger voters are much more likely to hold a progressive view of the government. However, if the majority of voters fall in the category of 65 or older, then only their priorities will be represented. According to a Demos research study, approximately 30 percent of old voters disagreed that the government should guarantee jobs and a standard of living while approximately 8 percent of young voters agreed.

Whose opinion makes a change? The old voters. In order for new policies to be implemented, young voters must step up and have their voice heard through a vote. In order for the best candidate to be chosen, the entire country’s votes must be considered, not just a fraction.

“One of the points of voting is to say that ‘I am part of this country, and I take ownership of it,'” government teacher Nathan Johnson said.  “What if only 20 percent of people vote, and the result is the exact same? That’s not good, because it indicates to the people in power that most Americans do not care and aren’t involved. If everybody votes, and the result is the same, it indicates to the people that are leading us that the people of this country care, and they are accountable for them. This is your country.”

The next step in the voting process is establishing whom to vote for. The obvious choice lies with the main Democratic and Republican candidates. The less traveled path, however, ventures down the road of independent parties.

Your vote not only reflects you, but also plays a crucial role in history in the U.S. and worldwide. While one might think an Independent candidate is relatable, a vote for an Independent party is a vote for the opposing party.

Typically, Democratic parties are more likely to be split if a portion of voters vote for an Independent party. The result is the Republican candidate. Theoretically, if the Democratic party split with half voting for Hillary Clinton and half for the Libertarian Gary Johnson, 100 percent of the Republican party would vote for Donald Trump. Who wins? Donald Trump. Therefore, it is very important to cast a vote for one of the two major candidates, in order to avoid a deadly split. A third party candidate will not get elected president. A third party candidate will simply make it easier for the opposing candidate to win.

Today is election day, and if you haven’t registered you’re probably disregarding this article as you may think you can’t vote anyway. Do not lose hope, because it is completely possible to register the day of the election itself. In order to register in person, all you need to bring along with you to your designated poll center is a state issued driver’s license or ID. In order to find where your poll center is, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Or, maybe you’re not 18 yet. There is, however, still a way to make a difference in history – simply by staying educated and actively spreading awareness and voicing your opinion.

The power of a vote is immense, and will affect you, the country and world for years. Your vote will go down in history.

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