Voting: A Special Right

Americans need to utilize their unique voice

Voting: A Special Right

Edison Geiler, Opinion Editor

Democracy, in the basic sense, allows citizens the significant opportunity to expound ideals whilst purportedly dictating the path of politics for multiple years. Voting is crucial in American history and the country’s future, thus, according to PBS, the 58% eligible voter turnout in 2016 was perplexing. A lower turnout rate than most developed countries is confusing especially when advertising is looked at. A constant bombardment of campaign ads with propaganda designed to create larger voter turnouts on television and social media platforms must successfully urge citizens to voice opinions anonymously.

The common excuse for this low percentage is most non-voters claim their single vote does not matter, citing the three million more votes Hillary Clinton received over President Donald Trump despite losing the election.

These people reject a fundamental vital aspect of democracy, and hypocrisy is highlighted when this excuse is used. According to The Washington Post and the University of Maryland, Trump achieved an incredibly low 36% approval rating as of August 26-29, 2018. The majority of the country is discontent with Trump’s America, however non-voters who had the potential to change the outcome of the election should not complain.

The usually blue-leaning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania surprisingly gave their votes to Trump during the election. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, 69% of voters voiced themselves while, according to The New York Times, a staggeringly low 48% of voters turned out in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Greater voter turnout would have led to a switch in points for the Electoral College. This would put Trump at 260 while Clinton would have risen to 278, pushing her over the 270 threshold and giving her the Oval Office.

Many citizens were discontent with the two primary candidates, leading to an absence of votes. While supporting figures who show brazen animus is not encouraged, it still is important to vote. Voting for a third party candidate will sway the election more than standing idly by and watching America pick a leader.

Furthermore, voting is a privilege Americans possess, not a right. Voting was a focal point in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. People of color were not given the right to vote, despite its listing in the Bill of Rights. Whatever may be in the Constitution, it is clear voting has been a privilege in American history rather than a right all have.

“So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself,” Martin Luther King Jr. said during his Give Us the Ballot, We Will Transform the South speech. “I cannot make up my mind – it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact – I can only submit to the edict of others.”

Voting is important to utilize, because as Americans we have the special privilege of voicing our opinions. Other countries today are nowhere close. Saudi Arabia gifted female citizens the right to vote only recently, and Russia has been accused of stuffing ballots in order to further a leader’s career. Disregarding whether collusion effected the antecedent election, Americans have the chance to choose a leader unlike most, and that is special.

Citizens will receive the opportunity to vote on November 6, 2018 when the midterm elections begin. To register to vote in Nebraska, individuals can print off the National Registration form, fill it out and send it to a local official. Filling out forms online to register is an alternative option. Both Governor Pete Ricketts and Senator Deb Fischer are running for re-election at the midterms. Each supports Trump, so their re-election will strengthen Republican power in government, thus dictating outcomes on future laws or controversial topics. Running against them are Bob Krist and Jane Raybould, both democrats who oppose the President.

These midterms will decide the path America will go for the next two years. It is crucial for citizens to make their voices heard, not only to honor the fights past leaders battled, but to participate in and dictate the path of one of the freest democracies in the world.