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Why The ‘V Word’ is So Important

In America, the Constitution’s amendments grant power to the citizens. With the 15th Amendment, black men were able to vote. With the 19th Amendment, women were able to vote. Voting was something that everyone wanted to do, could be involved in. A right that all citizens in the United States had and can use to mold the government in the way that they wish. Of course, just because of the amendments, that didn’t mean these people granted this right were allowed to do it. Black men have been barred from voting for many years, with being only able to vote for white men in leadership positions, with being taxed at polls, with suffering under the Grandfather Clause which allowed white men to prevent black men from voting. Black men still face issues with voting today, regardless of those racist techniques being outlawed. Felons don’t receive the right to vote, and about 6.2 million citizens cannot vote. Some states impose life-time bans on voting if you’re an ex-con, and for those who live in such a state like Kentucky, 1 of 4 African Americans can’t vote because of that.  Women traditionally voted for the person that male members in their family voted for, or stuck to voting on issues that were more maternal, such as feeding the hungry and children. Women today strive more for voting on more issues, and in a poll it was shown that the importance of voting is very different from the older generation such as parents and grandparents to women who are younger.

The news, social media, and independent organizations are alerting everyone that they must vote. They give directions to the nearest polling center, inform people of the people up for election, and urge people to get involved. Because in the 2016 election, only 56% of US citizens viable for voting voted. Young voters between the ages of 18 to 29 rarely showed up. 47% of them voted in the presidential election, and 17% of them voted for midterms. Why did young people not want to vote? Why did something that was so crucial and so important for so many people back then, be not so important now? Some young people admitted they probably won’t vote this election, reasons ranging from feeling disenchanted with democracy, political parties, feeling pressure from older people, not feeling the candidates are appealing to their needs and feeling that the process to register is very hard.

These reasons are valid. Voting is a process that for some people can be a long and stressful process. It may not appeal to the younger people who can vote. Except people will fill the positions that are open. People who may set forth plans to help certain people but hurt others, people who may be elected due to a big percentage of voters not bothering to how up. Politicians shape not only the government, but they shape each individual person’s life. They may propose change that can significantly alter ones life, giving a certain group more and better rights but also twisting legal interpretation to reduce a person’s rights. Using your constitutional right is important. You do not have to be completely absorbed in politics but you need to be at least aware of what your state has in place, who wants to step into power and what they want to change. It could affect you, your family, your friends. And even if it didn’t affect you, think of what your vote can do for others.

Photo: Getty Images

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Mia Boccher
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