Why voting matters

Wyatt Albers, Staff Writer

The election year has arrived, and come November, people will be going to the polls to elect the next president and several other contenders to various offices. Why should you vote and why is it important?

Many people in the United States take voting for granted. Voting is a core part of our government and the insurance that our opinions will be heard. This isn’t the case in other locations in the world where strong democracies have not been established; elections are rigged and people are denied the right to be in direct control of their country.

The responsibility of the American citizen is unlike any other. Our country follows the rule of the people by the people. Voting is important because it is you taking charge of your country and voicing your opinion. One vote may not make a difference by itself, but if every student at Southwest Minnesota State University were to vote then a difference could be made.

When you do not vote, you are refusing to choose the people that will have much influence over the lives of their constituents, and the shape of their county, state, or country for the duration of their term. When voters choose not to vote they are allowing others to make these important decisions for them. They have given up their right to participate in the government. They have lost the ability to control how the government will affect their lives for the remainder of the term.

The effects of not voting are visible at public universities, and other state-funded institutions. The people who hold office are the deciding factor in what can be taught in public universities, who qualifies for financial aid, and various other things that will affect the students’ lives. When students don’t vote, they give up their right to help decide what is happening in their lives at the government level.

Another consequence of abstaining from voting is when the voter chooses not to vote. They are giving those who hold differing opinions from then an advantage to ensure their voices are heard over yours. Their opinions and their values may conflict with yours. The people they elect reflect these values and enact them accordingly. It is the responsibility of the voter to ensure that what is done in the state and federal congresses is morally ethical and beneficial to the state or country.

Voting is the tool that allows us to shape this very nation. Our country was founded on the basis of representation in the government. Do not squander the work that countless men and women have completed before us to ensure that we are the country we are today. They have ensured that we have the right to participate in our government.

If you do not agree with the current state of the United States then do nott abstain from voting. Vote for someone else who will enact the change you want and encourage other like-minded individuals to vote as well. This election will happen with or without you.  All you can do is try to get others to vote with you.

If the candidate you voted for does not win or the bill you wanted was not in favor of the people, it is still worth voting because your opinion has been heard. The state and federal congress will take this into consideration when they pass their votes on various actions throughout their terms.

If you are unable to vote on election day, there is an absentee ballot. An absentee ballot is a ballot you mail in before the election.  You can find more information on how to request an absentee ballot at www.mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us. The state of Minnesota also offers same day voter registration at the polls along with online registration at www.mnvotes.org

Election day is Nov. 8. The locations where polling is being held in Marshall include the RA Facility at SMSU, the Marshall Middle School, and the Marshall Area Young Men Christian Association.