Why You Need to Vote


A democracy is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Voting is essential in maintaining a true democracy and with an election this close your vote especially matters. According to fairvote.org, approximately 60 percent of the eligible voting population does not vote during presidential election years. This absence of voters does not allow our democracy to be representative of all the people.

Many who are undecided or do not like any of the candidates choose not to vote, but it is important to realize there is more at stake then just the names on the ballot. “Everything we care most about, including our values, is on the ballot this year,” presidential nominee daughter Chelsea Clinton said. So what do you value?

If you represent a third party it is still just as important for you to vote. Many often consider this a “wasted vote” but the only wasted vote is no vote. Third parties have helped contribute and raise awareness about topics that may have gotten ignored otherwise. “If the third party candidate can exert an influence on the Big Two parties, the objective may be accomplished,” Timothy Terrell wrote in his article: “Are Votes on Third Parties Wasted?”. So no matter who you are voting for there is no excuse not to vote.

On Monday Nov. 7 many political personnels, including Chelsea Clinton, Barack Obama, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters, came to Ann Arbor to speak at a rally for Hillary Clinton at Ray Fisher Stadium. The theme of the rally was apparent: GET OUT AND VOTE!

“Vote tomorrow,” candidate for U of M Board of Regents Larry Deitch said. “Get your friends, families and neighbors to vote.”

Chelsea Clinton talked more on why it is especially important to vote this election. “This is the most consequential election of our lifetime,” Clinton said. “There is a world of difference between my mother and what she stands for and what she’s been fighting for and her opponent. That may be the biggest understatement that you hear today.”

Kelly Slay a doctoral student in education who attended the rally will be voting for her fifth presidential election on Tuesday and she does not ever recall the consequences of not voting being so high. “When you think about what’s at stake, the supreme court, a lot of policies around mass incarceration, educations,” Slay said. “You have to vote. You can’t stay home.”

President Barack Obama served as proof of the importance of voting, since he had been voted into office twice in a row by none other than by the citizens of America.

“Your vote matters,” Obama said. “Your voice matters. Your voice makes a difference, I have heard it.”

It was not just the speakers who understood the importance of voting. However, audience member Nadine Jawad felt strongly about her vote for more personal reasons.

“I think right now minority rights are at risk,” Jawad said. “As a Muslim-American and visibly Muslim, wearing a hijab, it’s scary to be in America right now, but I think that if we do the right things at the polls, everything will be ok.”

Voting is a way to express your voice and bring up the topics that matter to you. Whoever you think is most qualified should get your vote and although during this time of year everything is centered around the presidential vote getting out and voting for local and national issues should be your next step after the presidential election. Make voting a habit.

Start by making a plan for how you are going to vote. “You are a lot more likely to do something if you have a plan,” Solomon Rajput, Michigan Coordinated Campaign Organizer, said. “So what’s your plan to vote tomorrow? Are you taking the bus? How are you going to get there? These questions sound really simple and it only takes two seconds to figure out but once you take those two seconds you are so much more likely to vote.” So make a plan for when, how and where you are going to vote.  

If you do not know if you are registered to vote or where to vote go to iwillvote.com

In the words of U.S. President Barack Obama: “It comes down to you, it’s in your hands. We’ve got the chance to change history tomorrow.”