Why You Should Consider Voting (If You Weren’t Already)

November 3rd, 2020 is Election Day, and with that comes millions of Americans exercising their right to vote. It may seem like a simple action for many people to participate in; however, as with every election, there is an ongoing debate amongst U.S. citizens regarding voting. The conversation usually deals with whether their vote will count and whether voting is truly important/effective.

This ongoing argument against voting stems from various factors. Some people grew up in homes where their parents or guardians didn’t vote, so therefore they were never truly taught about the voting process. Then, there are those who know about voting, but chose not to exercise their right to do so; these kinds of people are, unfortunately, a bit ignorant to the facts and benefits of voting in elections. I have never been a very political person, and even with this current election, I still find myself slightly distancing myself from politics. However, I still understand the privilege that I hold as an American citizen to be able to vote and have a say in who I want to see as the nation’s President.

Because I was only seventeen during the 2016 Presidential election, I see it as both an exciting honor and an important duty as a Gen Z African American woman to vote in this year's election. I am in no way judging anyone who decides not to vote because just like voting is an American’s right, not voting is also an American’s right. I would however, like to encourage all people to consider the reasons why they should vote. Below are five simple reasons why an American citizen should exercise their right to vote in this upcoming election.

1) It is Your Right!

This one is pretty simple. As an American citizen, you have the right to vote and ultimately decide on who you want your next president to be. The role of a president is an important one as they are the leader and overall representative of the entire nation; that’s hundreds of millions of people that are being spoken for by one, single human being. Let’s not forget that African Americans were not able to fully exercise their right to vote until the establishment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The 15th amendment allowed free black men to vote in elections. However, due to things such as the Jim Crow laws, Black people were still being discriminated against during the voting process. Of course, everyone also knows about the long years of suffrage that American women endured while attempting to gain access to the right to vote. It wasn’t until the year 1920 with the passing of the 19th amendment that women could vote as equals along with males. 

2) Your Money/Taxes.

If you pay taxes, which every working American citizen of age should be, then by voting in this year’s election you are choosing how your tax dollars are being spent by the government.

3) Your Voice Gets to Be Heard.

The act of voting grants you the freedom to make a very important decision and it allows your voice to be heard. There are several people living throughout the U.S. who want to vote this election season but cannot for various reasons. For instance, many felons in the U.S. cannot vote in any type of election depending on their city/state.

4) Not Voting Does More Damage Than You Realize.

Many people do not realize that by not voting in the presidential election you are affecting the outcomes of who may be appointed into very important positions in places like the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is like not voting in your local elections. The “smaller” people that fall underneath the umbrella of the executive board are the ones with the most say so and power within our government.

5) This Year’s Election Is Extremely Critical.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been one of the more challenging years that America has ever faced. COVID-19 caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their lives, millions of people lost jobs that left them filing for unemployment, and essential workers such as those in the medical field risk their lives every day to save/help others.

On top of a national pandemic, we have a constant and alarming rate of police brutality and unjust treatment against Black men and women in America. COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement are only a few of the many troubling things that have occurred in the year 2020. With this upcoming election, we have the opportunity to vote for whoever we believe has the capability of turning this country back around and getting us on a much better track.

There is truly so much that is riding on this year’s election, and that’s why I believe everyone who can vote should. I encourage everyone to at least consider the advantages of voting and how it could affect them—and even their future generations— in the long run. So, no matter what political party you stand behind or who you are planning to vote for, please go out and do it! For all my Texas people, early voting has already started (October 13th) and, of course, you can go vote on Election Day which is November 3rd. Also, for my SFA people, if you are registered to vote in Nacogdoches county, then you can vote on campus this year on the third floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center in the Commons Room (3.201) weekdays 9AM to 5PM from October 13th to October 30th. Let’s try and make a difference by voting this year!