Voting is a right, take advantage of it

The day is finally here. Your whole life has been a waiting period so you can reach this specific moment. It has been talked about at family gatherings, in class and even aired on television. Your anticipation is burning from the inside out; you cannot possibly wait any longer. It has finally arrived: the first election in which you can vote.

Maybe that was a bit overdramatic. But even though the act of voting is far less eventful than most milestones, it remains a fundamental opportunity for an individual to exercise his or her power as a participant in society.

I have always known I will vote as soon as I turn 18. The importance of having an opinion in politics and recognizing the extensive role the government plays in the lives of the public was preached to me from an early age. However, I realize that many people about my age do not see voting in the same light as I do. In fact, some have never and will never cast a ballot and I find this outrageous.

According to the 2010 Census, the largest portion of the population fell in the age group 18-44. However, in the 2012 presidential election, 61.4 percent of those who voted were 45 years or older. Those who fall in this age group make up only 39.1 percent of the total population. Based on these numbers, the majority of the population is not the majority who votes which then means there is a misrepresentation of public interests.

This is why topics like health care and social security are major topics for presidential candidates. The people who vote are the ones concerned with these programs and until there begins to be a significant increase in younger voters, candidates will not devote their campaigns to discussing topics that involve America’s younger population.

Here is where I can understand why some of my peers say they will not be heading to the voter box this fall. If the president is not going to change anything directly relating to me, then why should I even bother? The truth is, everything the government changes will somehow affect every citizen and when something changes in a way you do not particularly like (as it undoubtedly will), you will have given up your chance to submit your vote for a candidate who would have acted in a way you do agree with.

Throwing away the opportunity to voice your opinion through a vote is ridiculous; it is throwing away your right to be upset with anything the government or the president does. If you do not vote, you are telling everyone you do not care what the future president will do, you will not complain as you missed your chance to provide your support for any candidate. Clearly there are people who do not follow through with this unspoken understanding.

Another reason some say there is no point in voting is because of the insignificance a singular vote has. Baloney.

In the 2000 presidential election, President George W. Bush won by 537 votes in the state of Florida which then resulted in him earning the majority of the votes in the Electoral College and winning the overall election. Had those 537 people said, “What does one vote matter?” our 43rd president would have been Vice President Al Gore. Regardless if you think that should have been the case, there is no argument that those 537 people directly influenced history, as every voter does on election day.

We all have a voice in our government, even if it is a small one. The election process is the grandest example of what happens when a bunch of little voices speak together and create change.

I will be voting in the next presidential election. That’s right, one of the 130 million ballots that will be turned in on Nov 8 will have my name on it.

Now, why will a newly turned 18-year-old college student even bother going through the hassle of registering to vote, becoming educated on the presidential candidates and dragging herself to the voting booth on this random Tuesday next November? Because it is my right and I will take advantage of my rights as long as this country remains the United States of America.