The right to vote: the cornerstone of our democracy. People have given their lives so that we may have this cherished right, so that we may have our voices heard.
And yet, so many people inexplicably squander this opportunity – an opportunity that others are still fighting for today.
It is 2020, and voting has never been more crucial to the future of America than it is now. Whoever is elected president in November has the power to significantly impact our lives for years to come, including the potential to shape the Supreme Court (for better or worse), to fight climate change (or not), and to defend (or diminish) human rights. Your life – everyone’s lives – will be affected. America’s standing as a global leader, a shining beacon of democracy, and a respected member of the international community, is at stake. This is not the time for apathy.
No matter who sits in the Oval Office come January, you simply cannot complain about the outcome if you did not participate in the process. Your candidate may or may not win, but your voice matters.
In his historic and compelling Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln expressed his sincere hope for the future of America: that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The only way we can fulfill Lincoln’s vision of a representative government is to vote.
The importance of voting is threefold:
1. Voting is a fundamental right for all. Long gone are the days where voting is restricted to white males who own property. Any U.S. citizen who turns 18 on or before Election Day can vote. We must exercise the right that so many fought for, including the women and people of color who devoted their lives to the fight for enfranchisement.
2. Voting determines our country’s future: laws will be passed, initiatives will be carried out, relationships with allies will be strengthened or weakened. The world looks to the United States for leadership. We must consider not only the domestic effects of our elections, but the international consequences as well.
3. We vote for the government we want. And if we do not vote, the result is a government that does not accurately represent the people. Put simply, voting is more than just a right, it is a civic imperative.
According to the Pew Research Center, the United States—with 55.7 percent voter turnout of citizens 18 years or older—falls far behind other developed countries like Belgium and Sweden, both with voter turnout rates above 80 percent. And, in countries like Australia and Uruguay, where voting is mandatory, ABC News reports voter turnout rates are even higher: well above 90 percent.
What is going on in the United States?
For a country built on the foundation of “no taxation without representation,” we seem to be undermining our own power. The right to vote IS our power.
If you are not 18 yet but will be on or before November 3, 2020, you can pre-register to vote in some states, such as California. Here is the link: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/pre-register-16-vote-18/.
No one can afford to stay home on Election Day; the stakes are too high. Make your views known.