Why voting matters

Illustration by Gordon Johnson


When we began this election season in 2015, I do not think any of us expected it to be this weird, crazy or surprising. It has led to serious polarization in this country and created rifts in friend groups and some families.

If you have somehow managed to remain unscathed by this election cycle, please tell the rest of us your secret.

For the rest of us, we endure the cringe-worthy debates, awkward press conferences, and all-around upsetting statistics.

However, this does not mean you should not vote. On the contrary, it is more of a reason for you to vote.

Greg Shufeldt, assistant professor of political science, specializes in American politics.

“Voting is important because it is the one institutional way that we as a country have set up to influence government,” Shufeldt said. “In our system—whoever gets the most votes wins.”

If history taught you anything, it should have taught you that it took a long time and many hard-fought battles to allow people over the age of 18 the right to vote. Voting is a right you should never take for granted, no matter how disgruntled you are with the government.

In some states across this country, many people are discouraged from voting, and there are even laws in place to make it more difficult for specific portions of the population to vote.

“Young Americans are always the age cohort that vote, participate in politics the lowest amount,” Shufeldt said.

This is a big deal. This means that college students are not actually exercising their right to vote.

I heard many students on Butler’s campus complaining about this election, but if everyone is so upset why not do something about it? If you want a specific issue to be addressed, vote.

“Politicians speak to the issues that are important to the groups that vote,” Shufeldt said. “If college students voted at the same rate as retirees, for example, we would likely have politicians talk about student loans in the same way they talk about Social Security.”

All this is to say if you want politicians to care about you and issues that affect you, then you need to vote. Your voice is more likely to be heard if you actually use it and vote.

This election is not just about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, although they are a vital aspect of it. This election includes senate seats, governors and school superintendents.

“Government touches so many aspects of our lives on a daily basis,” Shufeldt said, “The roads, the schools, the food we eat, the quality of our water — these are all political decisions.”

Not only those issues, but also the larger ones, like the U.S. Supreme Court. The next president will likely have the ability to appoint two to three new Justices. Of course, it needs to get approved by Congress, which is another reason to vote for representatives and senators, but justices hold the power.

“I fully understand how dissatisfaction with the system or choices can be alienating—but it will absolutely not change if people don’t do anything about it,” Shufeldt said.

This election is bigger than you and me — it is about the future of our nation. Please do yourself, future generations and this country a favor and go vote on Tuesday.


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