Your Vote Matters – If You Let It

Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service
What’s at stake: An Oklahoma teacher wears a sticker in support of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson. Over the last year, education has become a key issue for Oklahoma voters, and one that could swing the election, if voter turnout continues to be as strong as it was in the primaries. This is one of the many issues for which stronger voter turnout is essential, and without young voters, education in the state of Oklahoma will likely continue to suffer.

Payton Williams
Voices Editor

What is really important to us?

In all of the five years I’ve been attending Cameron University, there has never been a shortage of political conversations.

Everyone has an opinion, and all of those opinions are ostensibly important to the people who hold them. Some people scream their opinions at you, some people tell you calmly and emphatically about them, but everyone wants you to know about them.

But for most people, apparently, it’s just for show.

At least, according to the polls, it is.

In the 2016 elections, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 42 percent of people aged 18-24 cast a ballot.

It must seem strange to most readers, as it does to me, that despite being one of the most vocal demographics on political issues, early college age voters have the lowest turnout during elections.

We are the people in this country who talk most often about change, and the people who are least willing to put forth the effort to affect it.

This position, as I’m sure I shouldn’t have to tell anyone, is a bad one to be in, and one that people in my age group should be absolutely ashamed of.

How can we expect to lead this country to change and growth in the coming years when we begin our political lives so readily with apathy and passive complaint?

When I talk with my friends about why they don’t vote, most of them say they’re too busy, or the process is too hard, or they’re just not interested in the process for some reason or another.

The “too busy” argument is the easiest to dispute.

As American citizens, it is impossible for anyone to interfere with our right to vote, and that includes employers and professors.

If you need to take off of something for an hour to vote on election day, you cannot be kept from doing so.

For those who say the process is too hard, they mostly tell me that they don’t understand politics, to which I would offer this counter argument: does anyone?

The religious right, by and large, doesn’t have a lot of interest in or understanding of politics in this country, but that’s never stopped them from turning out in droves to inundate us with their candidates.

If their voice is so important, why isn’t yours?

And now we arrive at my favorite reason people give for why they don’t vote: They’re not interested in the process, or they don’t think their vote matters.

I meet people in my age group who say this constantly, and I have one simple thing to say to them: If your voice doesn’t matter, then why are you constantly talking about politics?

Almost everyone I meet talks about politics. Some less than others, but just about everyone does it.

And most of these people are the very same people who don’t vote, because they think their voice will count.

So, if someone wants to use that argument as their excuse for not going out and trying to make a difference, that’s fine.

But then perhaps they should also forfeit their right to speak on the subject, because as it stands, we have far too many people who are all for change, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their lunch.

Don’t be one of those people. The election is tomorrow. Vote.


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