On August 2, 1776, arguably the world’s most famous breakup letter was signed. A letter that the worlds longest lasting Constitution was written for. A letter that war was fought and won for.
This letter was written because this country felt disenfranchised. This letter was written because the people in this nation, even before it was a nation felt as if they had no input in their government. That they were taxed without representation and that they felt they were not free. So they revolted and created a nation built on the concept that all men are created equal.That everyone should have a say in who governs them. That a government for the people by the people and of the people would come onto this earth and be a guiding light. That is where our government comes from.
Yet for some reason, many American citizens do not vote. According to fairvote.org, around 60% of Americans don’t vote during midterm elections while only 40-50% tend to vote during presidential elections (this percentage spiked during 2016, when around 58% of the population voted, which was a record turnout for elections.) A democracy is a political system that relies on the feedback of its citizens in the form of voting to function properly. Meaning that voting is fundamental to running a country like the U.S. or the government will fail to represent the needs of its citizens.
When students were asked why they didn’t vote, they cited political disinterest and lack of information.
However, important to know for those who felt disinclined to vote due to distance, Kevin McCarthy, a sophomore disaster preparedness emergency management and political science double major and the SGA assistant vice president of governmental relations, organized the election watch and party mentioned that mail on ballots are a viable option, especially for college students.
“I did vote today, I voted by a mail in ballot,” McCarthy said. “Mail in ballot is when somebody fills in an application and sends it in, needs to be within a month or so of the election, the county will then receive the mail in ballot application and then send you a mail in ballot. This is just like a regular ballot, if I walked into the poll in my hometown in Cranford, then voted, but its just sent to me so while I’m here in college, I don’t drive the hour and a half home.”
He stressed that everyone, no matter their amount of knowledge or education, deserves to vote.
Mekhi Garvin, a freshman psychology major, disagreed with McCarthy, stating that only those with a certain degree of knowledge of both the party and the candidate should be voting.
“When you get people that don’t know enough about the election that are voting, I feel like it kind of skews the vote,” Garvin said. “At least don’t just vote Democrat just to vote Democrat or vote Republican just to vote Republican, like know who your voting for and know why.”
Moving forward, the midterm election resulted in Democrats taking the House of Representatives and Republicans maintaining the Senate, breaking the Republican complete control of the government.
Whatever the case maybe, to vote or not to vote, it’s been made very clear that through U.S. history that certain groups have been barred from voting due to the very real fear of these disenfranchised voters becoming franchised. Also having a role and transforming the government that not only suits a small amount of the population.
In the beginning of this nation’s history, poor white men couldn’t vote, let alone African Americans or women. The sheer amount of bloodshed and protest, and incarceration women and minorities have endured just for the right to vote in this country is staggering.
One need only look up “Bloody Sunday” or the battle of Birmingham for mere glimpses of the brutal treatment these people received- the beatings, the hospital visits, the lynchings and lynch mobs.
Things got better because people did something about it. Things got better because people left where they felt comfortable and did something to make things better for the generations behind them. Things got better because people sacrificed to get us where we are now. Even though a literal Amendment has to be signed every year for people to vote, they have that opportunity because of what other people sacrificed. Because they recognized what’s wrong and put their lives on the line to fix it.
At the end of the day, the future is in the hands of those that did something.
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