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The Power of Your Political Participation

An attendee holds a campaign sign of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, as he speaks at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The Iowa State Fair is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An attendee holds a campaign sign of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, as he speaks at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The Iowa State Fair is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This campaign demands a political revolution. You are the revolutionaries.” Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, at a recent rally in West Virginia, bellowed the claim to an audience of thousands. Whether you place your support in Sanders’s hands or not, the statement reigns true: you are indeed the revolutionaries.

At the rally, Sanders bragged on how at the start of his campaign, he rested at a mere 3% in the polls. Since, Sanders has created quite a stir, winning 20 statewide primaries. As unbelievable as that surge of support is, Sanders made a point to accredit it completely to his followers – a weight of words which holds truer than most realize.

Your vote and complete presence matter tremendously in the political realm. The importance of voting is lost in many Americans’ minds due to the ultimate control of the delegates/electoral college. In the end, whether your candidate is selected to take office or not, a vote is more than a checked box and a signature. A vote is an act of support. Even if the electoral college overrules you, your voice will show up in the popular vote. Your vote will become one of the statistics. Your support for your candidate will be shown and taken into accordance. Voting is more than the president that is elected into office; voting is a practice of our democracy and an outlet to display the American voice.

 

For those under 18 years of age who cannot vote, you matter too. Never let any adult convince you that you are too young to be politically literate. As Sanders also stated at his previous rally, “Investing in America’s youth is investing in the future of America.” It is entirely possible to successfully support a presidential candidate without voting. Donating, volunteering, or simply spreading the word about your candidate can make a larger impact than you’d imagine. There’s never too young an age to begin investing your time in the future and wellbeing of your country.

 

As the primaries rage on, the voter turnouts have made a pleasantly surprising rise from the 2012 primaries (although they are still no match for the November election turnouts). Many states have yet to cast their votes for the candidates, the next upcoming primaries being in Kentucky and Oregon on May 17. If the primaries have yet to reach your state, remember the far extent of your reach as a voter when the day rolls around. And again, for those who cannot yet vote, never cease campaigning for your candidate until the voting is completely finished. Throughout all the political confusion and technicalities, never forget that a candidate’s success is truly contingent on your support and presence.

 

For a full list of past and upcoming primaries in 2016, click here.

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Written By

Brandi Hewitt is a high school senior who aspires to use journalism to reach a broad audience and educate people on political and sociocultural issues. She is passionate about women's rights and is an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. In her spare time she enjoys reading classic books, watching The X-Files, and playing the guitar.

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