Throughout the history of the United States, many different groups of people have fought for the right to vote. Even though voting is a right that applies to all American citizens, people today are still being denied that basic right.
Last week, the Supreme Court did not overturn North Dakota’s controversial voter I.D. law which prohibits people from voting if they do not show their current address along with their identification. The people that this law affects are predominantly Native Americans living on reservations. Reservations often do not use street addresses, so the people living on them usually have P.O. boxes. However, P.O. boxes are not accepted at polling places in North Dakota for this general election. This is just one example of how Americans today are still struggling to find a way to vote, and it should be a good reason for you to go vote in two weeks.
If you are able to vote, you should. Do not complain about the outcomes of an election or the outcome of a ballot question if you did not vote on behalf of your beliefs. I have encountered a lot of people with the mindset that their vote doesn’t count or have much value. This is so far from the truth. Some elections have come down to the thousands. Reported by The Washington Post, now President Donald Trump won Pennsylvania back in 2016 by a mere 0.7 percent — about 46,765 votes. I know people who in 2016 either could not decide between the candidates, or hated both of them and just opted out of voting all together. Judging by how little of a margin Trump won in regards to the Electoral College, their vote counted, or didn’t count a great deal.
In Pennsylvania, it is currently a toss up between a Republican and a Democratic incumbent, so it is incredibly important that we do not dismiss voting as a non-essential act, and start to treat it like what it is: a civic duty. In order for a democracy to work, it is essential for you participate and to vote, no matter what party you belong to. Coming from a very democratic Massachusetts, moving to Pennsylvania caused me to be more excited to vote in a swing state.
I am so excited to be voting for the first time as a college freshman this November, and despite your age or political party, you should be too. When I hear people complaining about policies or policy makers and their decisions, I think of and agree with what President Barack Obama said back in 2016, “Don’t boo. Vote.” Keeping in mind the many Americans struggling to cast their vote, I urge you to not take this right for granted, and go to the polls this November.