Why I Hope You Vote

(Marie Lambert)–After months of campaign ads, debates, polls, and speculation, Election Day is nearly upon us. We’ve seen the table to register to vote in Val, and the flyers for debate-watching parties. We’ve been annoyed at the radio endorsements, the endless attack ads, and the banners plastered across the top of websites. I am as sick of hearing about the election as the next person, and am equally skeptical about the real change for the better that either candidate will bring. But still, I am glad to say I voted, as most of us out-of-state voters may have sent in absentee ballots already. So for those of you registered in Massachusetts, or anyone in any election anywhere—be it general or AAS—I sincerely hope you vote. Here is why:

1. Despite the annoyances and problems of the Electoral College, voting is inherently supposed to be a fair process. The richest, most successful person in America still only gets one vote, the same number as you and the President of the U.S. get. And although elections never truly hinge on the vote of one person, don’t think that your individual vote doesn’t matter.

2. Elections don’t just decide a politician to hold a particular office, but they provide politicians with a picture of the opinions of the electorate. Even if you’re a Democrat living in Kansas or a Republican in California, you can cast a dissenting vote and at least make your presence known. Politicians cannot listen to a demographic that does not speak. Don’t like either mainline party candidate? There’s a whole list of third party candidates to choose from.

3. Voting is a way of taking part in your community, whether local or global Actually, it’s almost a responsibility more than a privilege or a right. Our government’s policies and decisions have ramifications around the world, and we have a say in who will be making these decisions.

4. Democracy is anything but a perfect system (and we are not even purely democratic), but its ideals have helped make America what it is today. Our ability to freely speak our dissent and engage in the discourse of new ideas is a precious thing. If we don’t use it, then some day (hopefully not) we may lose it, so support the benefits of the democratic process by taking part in it.

5. Finally, vote because you can. Even in America, the votes of many are suppressed, whether because of race, ability, or incarceration. Around the world, young people are fighting and dying for their voices to be heard by their governments. Others are barred from voting because of their gender or fear of violence. In America, we don’t vote because we are disillusioned or lazy. Let’s change that.