The fact you have the right to vote was not a “gimme” for our society. In 1776, at the founding of our country, most of the population did not have the right to vote, and it’s been a long, arduous and sometimes violent process to establish voting rights where they are today. However, although the right to vote is important, voting involves more than that.
Votes are Power
In the United States, voting is a powerful right, a privilege and responsibility you derive from the sovereignty of the states. Yours and the votes other constituents cast elect others to represent you in government. If the elected representative fails in his responsibility to represent you, and runs for office the next election cycle, you and other constituents can remove him from office simply by not voting for him.
Votes can Initiate Change
Through the Constitution, the right to govern belongs to you and the other citizens of the United States, via the representative style of government mentioned above. Granted, an electoral system and the majority rules as to the exact style of government. Yes, you may have to compromise some of your views as to what you want, but through your vote, you’re heard. How many times have you said, or thought, that if you were president, a member of congress, a governor, legislator, mayor or whatever you would do this or that? By voting, you can express at least some of your views. Later you can talk to your representative about your ideas, she may agree with you, and if there are enough other constituents who think like you, your ideas may come to fruition.
Voting is the Right to Participate
Perhaps the most important part of voting is participation. If you don’t participate you don’t have the right to complain about results. Yes, you are but one vote but, in 1960, Jack Kennedy’s margin of victory over Richard Nixon for President of the United States was by less than 113,000 votes. Thus, if an average of less than one Nixon supporter from each voting district, who skipped voting that year, had made the effort to vote Nixon would have defeated Kennedy. Participation matters.
Agreed there are problems with our voting system, but not voting because the system is not perfect doesn’t make sense. A system with problems that allows voting is better than a system that does not allow voting.
Under normal circumstances, there are various means available to make sure you have the opportunity to vote. You may participate in early voting or absentee voting, for example, and rides are usually available to get you to a polling place. Basically, the only person who can prevent you from voting is yourself. Get out and vote Tuesday, November 2.