In the 2016 presidential election, 45 percent of eligible voters neglected to vote. That’s 127.5 million valuable citizens who denied themselves the opportunity to make a difference. People who resolve not to vote to say that their vote doesn’t matter or just don’t care about the results. Maybe they just can’t be bothered to make the trip down to the polling place. Voting is a right granted to every citizen of the United States, and there’s really no reason not to utilize it.
How could one vote possibly make a difference? One measly little opinion versus 245.5 million others doesn’t seem like any kind of realistic odd, does it? “I’m just one person, so if I don’t go down to vote, it won’t matter because no one will miss it.” If everybody said that, there wouldn’t be anybody left to vote at all. Last year’s homecoming king was Cade Billingsley. What if all of the people who had voted for Billingsley decided not to vote because their vote “didn’t matter”? Billingsley wouldn’t have won if his voters hadn’t voted, and either Colton Delamora or Matthew Munk would’ve won instead. If the other 127.5 million people had voted in the 2016 presidential election, who’s to say what the results would’ve been? Maybe we’d have somebody else governing our country, or maybe Trump would’ve won by more. Nobody really knows.
Just last year, the election for the Virginia House of Delegates tied at a perfectly even number of votes for each candidate. They drew names from a film canister to determine who would take the seat. A film canister, America. The fate of our country should not rely on two little pieces of paper in a little metal tin. We are a democracy, a country, not a fifth-grade class drawing for who has to present first. The dispute would’ve been settled had one more person wrote a name on a piece of paper. Just one person. That one vote would have mattered, just like everybody else's.
Everyone likes to complain, especially when an election doesn’t turn out the way we like, but did we try to make a difference? Complaining doesn’t change anything, but you do have a say. It’s called voting, and it is your moral responsibility to vote if you actually want to make a difference. It's easier and faster than complaining. If you’re mad at our government, or that Trump beat Hillary, but you didn’t vote, that’s honestly too bad. Cue the world’s tiniest violin, because nobody really cares. Obviously, if you didn’t vote, you don’t care either.
Voting is an essential component of our freedom as Americans. As a democracy, we actually have a say in what happens in our country, on topics that directly affect us. Many countries and many people don’t have that option. People literally died to give us this right, why waste it by not voting?