The Importance of Voting

Vote (noun): A formal indication of a choice between two or more candidates or courses of action, expressed typically through a show of hands or by voice.

The definition for 'vote' is quite simple given the large amount of responsibility we as citizens obtain by this action.

In America, voting was once something not every United States citizen could do. It was created to be something very simple, in it being the way we as citizens exercise our voices in our Democratic Republic of a nation. But, it has become a complicated act for many. Women of all races and ethnicities, as well as African-American men, were held back from voting. Things such as poll taxing and literacy tests were used against African-Americans. These groups of people fought long and hard for this right to be achieved, and it was eventually, due to the 15th and 19th amendments. Once these amendments passed, there were still states that took longer to allow the free exercise of voting to all women, specifically black women. I say this to say that voting was once something that had to be fought for, and our current generation seems to take those long battles for granted.

This November, it will be time to vote in mid-term elections! In the past, these election cycles have been overlooked because they don’t boast as much excitement as the race for the President's seat. However, somehow this year, these mid-terms seem to be more important. They mean that we do not have to wait until 2020 to make a change! This election, we are voting for (some) state Senate and Congressional seats that represent our personal states and districts, directly impacting and changing many policies. Without these elected officials, such changes would not be possible. Also, depending on your area, there might be some local seats up for election, whether that be city/county school boards or city council seats.

Whether you were a personal supporter and advocate of President Trump or not, it’s still obvious that there’s a lot of riff in our political system. Human rights are being tampered with, the quality of appointees for major seats are not as strong as they could be or once were and people feel helpless and uncertain of what is to come. With negative outcomes that have come out of the 2016 Presidential election, as well as with the appointment of other elected officials, many feel as though voting does not matter. If you are someone who feels this way, know that it is not true and do not let it discourage you.

Through all of the negativity that many feel has divided our nation, it has also strengthened the need for change. All of these feelings can be eased if we all exercise our right to vote! In Virginia, the deadline to register is Oct. 15, 2018 and if you are registered in your hometown and are away at school (like myself), the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 30. If anyone out of Virginia happens to be reading this, click this link to find out your state's deadlines for registration and ballot requests.

Author Pictured with Incumbent and current Democratic nominee for his Virginia state Senate seat, Tim Kaine. ​

 

Happy voting! Get yourself to the polls!

 

Image credit to author Aja Moore