A lot of Americans have deluded themselves into thinking their vote matters. The fact of the matter is, no individual vote is going to decide the Presidency. This is true even if you live in a battleground state and especially if you live in a solidly red or blue one; chances are your vote does not matter.
The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the world. Not only is it a hassle for most people to get their ballot in, but by now people have realized that their vote doesn’t really matter in whomever eventually wins the White House. It feels as if the courts decided that for us when Citizens United became law.
So if all of that is true, why even vote at all? It seems like the whole “voting thing” is just a waste of time. Except, it’s not.
Vote for your demographic
I’m a young Latina woman and those are three reasons right off the bat why I should vote. Politicians pander to and vote for legislatures in favor of not specifically their constituency, but the population of voters who voted for them. The reason why Medicare and retirement pensions are always on the political agenda is old people vote very frequently. Since the voter turnout for senior citizens is so high, they get first dibs on favorable legislation.
I love grandma and grandpa as much as the next person, but it doesn’t seem fair that a small, yet politically active, population is deciding what legislators are focusing their time on when they won’t be around to feel the long term ramifications of the legislations. People in the age bracket 18-25 vote the least, yet they have the longest amount of time left on this Earth.
Many Latinos in this country do not have the right to vote, for lack of citizenship or papers. Therefore, I feel a strong purpose to vote for the Latinos who can’t do so for themselves–my father is a great example of this. He is a permanent resident and a business owner yet after over 20 years, and five children, but in this country, he still has no voice in the minds of the politicians, and that’s not through lack of trying. Latinos with the right to vote are crucial because they are the only ones that can speak for those who are forced to be silent.
Lastly, I am a woman. Currently, my rights are under fire and the legislatures need to know that I am out there, I’m listening to everything they say, and I am voting for my interests. For some reason, women vote less often than men. This could be attributed to the single mother population; women who are just too busy or tired to stand in a long line to get their ballot in. Because of this, politicians tend to ignore women’s issues. If women voted more often, abortion wouldn’t be under attack. – Alicia
It has a direct impact on you
You will probably never meet Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, Lincoln Chafee, or Michael Bloomberg. You will probably never be able to look them in the eye and have a conversation with them. But just because it’s unlikely that you’ll ever know them personally, that doesn’t mean that their actions and decisions don’t affect you.
On everything from stances on social issues to how they’ll handle economic problems, what our elected officials say and do has a direct effect on our lives. Politicians’ opinions on healthcare, taxes, abortion, and immigration affect US citizens individually. Casting your votes for politicians allows you to push for what you think is right and what you want for yourself. – Alisse
You’re not just voting for the President
This year, Washington State has gay marriage on the ballot. Massachusetts has the legalization of medical marijuana, Florida has an amendment to allow property tax discounts for disabled veterans and Colorado has an amendment to prohibit corporate contributions and expenditures in elections. In every state, voters are being asking personally about crucial issues within their state, all to be decided by popular vote.
With all these important measures being left to the voters, you can’t risk not voting in an election, whether it be federal or local. In the race for the Presidency, corporations and the Electoral College has the biggest say in who is going be to the winner but in ballot initiatives, the voters have the loudest voice. – Alicia
Your local government depends on it
It may not feel like your local government is heavily involved in your life, but they can have just as much, if not more, influence on you than the state and federal governments. Unlike state and federal elections, though, local governments have less voters coming in and do not have an Electoral College – meaning that they actually rely on individual votes to decide the election.
Local politicians are unlikely to spend absurd amounts of money on campaigns like those running for state and federal office, and many locals don’t even know who is running for what in their cities and towns. Before you go out and blindly vote for a new mayor in your small city, research the people who are running. Local elections are just as important as the presidential one. — Alisse
Your state isn’t as red/blue as you think
I’m from Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the union. The Kennedy clan is from Massachusetts and it takes great pride in that fact. Bay Staters also take pride in being the first state to legalize gay marriage. However, while Boston and the surrounding towns and suburbs are proudly Democrats, the further west one goes, the redder the state begins to look.
This election isn’t just about voting for the President: many people also forget they will be voting for two Senators as well. While Massachusetts has always voted solidly Democrat in the elections, Western Mass has a history of voting for Republican, which is a large reason why there is currently a Republican Senator.
The President, whomever may win, can’t do much if he doesn’t have a Congress on his side. As important as a vote for the president may be, your vote for your Representative is just as important. – Alicia
This election is going to be monumental for many reasons. On Wednesday, November 7, we’re either going to have our first Mormon president or our first Black president will have a second term and your vote for either doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what people think are the little things. When it comes to voting and elections, it’s more important for the electorate to pay attention to the trees, rather trying to change the entire forest.
Written by Alicia Perez & Alisse Desrosiers
Click here to find out where your polling place is. Some areas that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy have been updated with new polling places at this link. For those that have not, you can contact your town or city halls to find out where to go.