Don’t waste your vote

Graphic by Jenna Krall
Graphic by Jenna Krall

As of right now, our current presidential candidate selection may seem a bit ominous. But that is not my topic of discussion at the moment. Choosing to skip out on this election is simply unrealistic.

Our country evolved from ideas of individual freedom and cherishes the belief that every eligible voter has the right to vote if he or she desires. The 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments of the Constitution grant U.S. citizens the right to vote  despite race, sex, the color of your skin, age or previous condition of servitude.   

That being said, not voting is simply impractical, and those who choose this should accept the consequences that are attached to their choice. The purpose of voting is to make a change for the better, to express concerns and to express support. Anyone who  just expects change without voting needs to check his or her priorities.

If you do decide not to vote, I do not want to hear any complaints about the outcome.  If  you can’t take the time out of your busy schedule to vote, then I won’t take the time to listen to your complaints.

For our generation, the predicted statistics on voting in the upcoming election is disappointing. According to statisticbrain.com, typically an average of 58.5 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 are voters. For this election, it is estimated that only 21 percent of college-aged students will vote. As the next generation of 18-year-olds prepare for their next journey in life, they leave the responsibility of choosing the next leader of the United States up to their elders, not themselves.

One argument among students who chose not to vote is something like this, “I do not want to vote for the lesser of two evils.” Lesser of two evils? Are you saying you want to vote for the greater of two evils? Now I’m not saying our presidential candidates are perfect angels who have done no wrong, but there is someone who is well qualified for the job.

Another argument I hear is, “I do not know how to register or vote.” Well, I am sure that today, when everything is digital, you can simply google instructions with step-by-step guidelines on how not only to register but to vote as well. And there’s always the option of asking a parent or an already registered family member, unless he or he refuses to vote. Then your best bet is the Internet.

If you need to know whether you are eligible to vote, you can visit canivote.org, and it will tell you in approximately 12 seconds. In all honestly, it takes a lot to become ineligible to register to vote. Unless you are a convicted felon or not a U.S. citizen, then chances are pretty good that you are eligible. Seriously, the website will tell you everything you need to know to get yourself registered and ready to vote.

Another argument I hear has no grounds. “My vote does not matter.” I mean seriously? Certainly your vote does not matter if you do not vote. How can your voice be heard? Isn’t that the entire reason to elect officials? We want them to represent our views, whether for or against global warming, marriage equality, capital punishment or even the separation of church and state, etc.

If you don’t vote, your ideas and morals don’t count, and the only person to blame is you. If you support marriage equality or are trying to fight global warming, you don’t want a candidate who believes the opposite in office. That is why you vote. You vote to make a difference in the world we live in.

Many local polls end up tied due to a lack of votes. Although, if you had gotten registered and voted those results could have tipped in your favor.

Reasons to vote outweigh the reasons not to. Every year, politicians make decisions regarding the costs of higher education and student loans. Politicians are more likely to listen and reevaluate student issues if more students actually vote.

By voting for an elected official who expresses the same concerns you have, you are helping to reassure not only your future but the future of younger generations.

So is not voting realistic? No. By not voting, your voice gets buried and your concerns are never heard. And complaining about the situation when you contributed absolutely nothing, only infuriates those who have.

If you want your concerns heard, vote.