Every vote counts: the importance of a single vote in America

CASTING BALLOTS: A single voter in Jackson, Mississippi votes in a midterm election.

By Alicia Brown

We live in America, a democracy that allows its people to have a voice in the way we live our lives and in who dictates executive decisions affecting our society.

It is a system designed to protect the rights of the people, yet in every election we find millions of Americans refusing to exercise this right. With the next midterm election just around the corner on November 6, many have started to speak up about the importance of voting, in an attempt to round up more American voices to be heard. Especially in the political climate we face today, the gravity of voting has shown to be increasingly significant to the future of the United States.

The midterm election, while not given as much momentum as the presidential election, is just as influential. It establishes party control of the state houses, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. According to the Pew Research Center, in the 2016 presidential election, approximately 60 percent of eligible citizens voted, while in the 2014 congressional races, turnout was less than 40 percent. The decline in voter participation implies that one election is more important than the other.

Each and every individual voted into office makes decisions to better society. In order for American voices to be heard, all Americans must vote for the candidate who best represents the voters’ values and beliefs. Registering and voting are processes that take no more than ten minutes of the day but have the power to alter society itself.

“The unregistered differ in many ways from those who vote frequently: they are less interested in politics, less engaged in civic activities, and more cynical about their ability to understand and influence government, but they are not appreciably different on these measures from individuals who are registered but rarely vote,” according to a Pew report.

When thousands of Americans fail to see the purpose of registering and thus refuse to vote, they throw away the chance to case a vote that could potentially shape history.

“When We All Vote” surfaced this year as a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization. Its goal is to bring citizens, institutions, and organizations together in order to to start a conversation about Americans’ rights and responsibilities in shaping democracy, namely the responsibility of registering and voting.

“When we all vote, we get new ideas and new energy. We get leaders who share our values and listen to our voices. That’s how we change America,” co-chair of When We All Vote Michelle Obama said in an ad for the organization.

This year’s midterms shape the future of our country, and the outcome is determined by the decisions of every citizen of the United States eligible to vote. The polls are mere minutes away, open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Make your vote count, America.

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