Civic participation is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen of the United States. This is not a hyperbole, nor is it an overstatement. And on the heels of abysmal voter turnout in the last election, it’s more important than ever that we all participate in the democratic process.
A couple of facts you should know: In the last midterm election, held in 2014, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania all had under 40 percent voter turnout. Specifically, New Jersey clocked in with 31 percent, New York with 28 percent and Pennsylvania with 36 percent.
As it just so happened, 2014 was a pivotal election year, allowing the GOP to regain control of the Senate for the first time since 2007. If you were at a diner with 100 people, and 36, 31 or even just 28 of them dictated what everyone else was ordering from the menu, that would hardly be democratic. So why are we okay with it happening when it’s not a food choice, but rather control of a house of Congress, or even the presidency.
Speaking of the presidency, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and a half, there’s an election coming up in under two months. And no matter what your political affiliation is, everyone seems to agree that it’s pretty important.
For people who vote with the Democratic Party, it can be seen as a way to maintain control over the executive branch, and check the power of the GOP in congress. For the Republicans, it’s the ticket to full approval for any policy they are looking to get passed. And for people voting third party, it’s a way to register their disapproval with a system they feel is broken.
I can hear the excuses now: I have other things to do. I just don’t care enough to vote. It’s not that big a priority of mine. Tell that to someone living in a place where it’s illegal to vote. Watch their jaws drop. And then understand just how lucky you are to have a right that people are willing to fight and die for.
So go out and vote. Register for an absentee ballot. Drive back to your hometown and cast your vote in person. Just make sure you cast a ballot somehow. Because silencing your vote due to laziness or carelessness is downright unacceptable.