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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

A very common belief is that voting doesn’t matter. People say over and over again that one vote won’t make a difference or the Electoral College control the votes. And although in some state the Electoral College vote in their own favor, casting a vote is still very important and significant. Voting is more impactful than people make it out to be: it’s participating and supporting representative democracy and electing politicians who are going to influence all aspects of our lives. Many people fail to realize that it is not just the president on the ballots, but local government, senators, congressmen, governors. And it is very crucial to remember that the ability to vote and have a voice in who runs our government is privilege, not a right. It’s a privilege that many other countries don’t have the freedom to do. Voting is a freedom that should be appreciated and practiced, for it is so much more than what it appears to be.

By not voting, we are undermining representative democracy. If we are not using this privilege to vote, we will be neglecting our freedoms and weakening our democracy. And consequently, only those who vote will have representation in the government. For example, despite “nearly three quarters of the American public” supporting the raise on the minimum wage, Congress doesn’t act to make these changes. And there are many other reasons that factor into this, but one being that Americans don’t bother voting. Those who support these progressive policies such as minorities, low-income and young people, typically have low turn out when it comes to voting. Therefore, their voices are not heard when policies and laws are made. They are not properly represented. Hence why it is so important for people among all ages, backgrounds, and class to vote, because it will result for a more representative government.

According to the article Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978–2014, millennials account for ⅓ of the electorate, yet in 2012, less than 50% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 casted a vote. And the turnout for most communities is less than 50%. Despite many millennial’s yearning for change and progression in our country, it is not reflected when the ballots roll around to cast in votes. The only way to bring change is to let your voice be heard, and in this country, that is represented by the numbers and voting. Although there is much disappointment and loss of faith with this year’s presidential candidacy, change can still be made. Think about the other branch of government who are all elected into office by the people. Arguably the most important branch, the legislative branch dictates the law and policy making of this country. These are the people who are creating the laws that affect our lives. These are the people who are going to determine the direction of our education, healthcare, and homeland security. These are the people who we really should be paying attention to when voting in. So, despite the unpopular candidates of the 2016 presidential election, there’s still a strong reason to vote regardless. Don’t be discouraged to not vote by the presidential candidates, for they aren’t the only ones on the ballots.

Voting is so important in being politically engaged. Older generations especially critique young people of not being politically involved. If democracy and/or electing in politicians doesn’t appeal to you, at least vote to prove the older generations wrong. Millennials are much more informed than most people think. We are the generation of reform and compassion. Despite the negative stereotypes given do to advancement in technology and the impression of entitlement; this generation can really bring the progressive change this country needs. On that account, it is time to step it up. Mail in those ballots or find a voting poll near you; it is time to make a difference.

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor