Though the presidential pickings may be slim this way, it is the duty of every American to vote.
According to the Federal Election Commission, only 49% of the voting age population turned out for the 1996 Presidential election and only 74% of people over the age of 18 were registered. Since 1960, the nation has seen a 14% decrease in voter turnout.
Voting isn’t merely a duty. It is a right that many people don’t have. There are still countries who don’t give their people the right to vote. Those people have no say in what their government says. Those people are at the mercy of officials who may not have their best interests in mind.
Without the right to vote, the country could possibly fall into the hands of whoever had more money or power. Voting isn’t only about choosing who will hold office. It’s also about who won’t. If the American people hadn’t spoken up, Ross Perot would be spinning circles in the Oval Office chair.
Organizations like Rock the Vote and Project Vote-Smart have generated political interest among young voters. Rock the Vote alone registered over 250,000 new voters in 1998 showing that amidst the apathy there is still a spark of concern among the younger generation.
In the past few elections, there has been an overwhelming outreach to people age 18-24. Candidates are popping up on late night talk shows and hosting open forums on MTV. They are sitting down and addressing issues that concern young voters.
In 1996, 31% of the voting age population between the ages of 18-20 turned out for the Presidential Election, while 67% of people over the age of 65 voted in the same election. Perhaps the candidates have realized young people aren’t solely concerned with shoes and Dawson’s Creek and to capture the gold mine of the undecided young vote may mean winning the election.
Whether young or old, the issue of indifference and apathy remains the same. People don’t vote because they don’t care, they think it doesn’t make a difference or simply, they don’t know how. The process is simple: walk in, pull a lever and walk out. Making a decision is the hardest part.
If the choices seem absolutely undesirable, then ask yourself which candidate you’d less like to see in office. Think about which one would do less damage to the state of the nation. Choose whoever seems less corrupt and morally reprehensible. Still can’t choose? Vote for someone. Vote for me.
The fact is every person’s choice in the polls may affect what happens in the next four years. Whoever is elected may have the opportunity to take away a woman’s right to choose, abolish capital punishment or even dismember the U.S. Postal Service.
Though one vote among millions may seem infinitesimal and unfathomable, it really does matter. If enough people vote, things can change. If no one votes, then the status quo will become permanently embedded in society.