Voter apathy takes away political voice of citizens

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Katherine Lindgren

More stories from Katherine Lindgren

Participation of young voters crucial for students’ futures

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Voter apathy takes away political voice of citizens

The 2016 presidential election is rapidly approaching, marking the first poll a number of seniors will be able to participate in. To some, the idea of voting is exciting and important, but to others, it seems to be a waste of time with no real reward. This could not be further from the truth. Voter apathy is a growing trend in America, but can have serious consequences. When a large percentage of those turning out to vote are older citizens with radical views, the results can be skewed in a way that is not in the best interests of young people.

According to civicyouth.com, only 45% of young people from age 18-29 voted in the 2012 election. That means that over half of the citizens who will be affected for a long period of time by the decisions of the president did not even give their say in the selection process. There are 49 million young people eligible to vote, as opposed to 39 million senior citizens, yet the older generation consistently has a higher voter turnout. Some of these voters will not live to see the changes they influenced. The presidential election impacts younger voters more than any other group, so why would they not take the opportunity to give their input? Some reasons cited by theeconomist.com include feeling like their vote will not make a difference, being without a form of recognized identification in a location with strict voter ID laws or simply believing there is no candidate worth voting for.

One vote may not seem to matter, but when a country is filled with people sharing that same thought, the impact can be staggering. It may seem like a choice between bad or worse, but without voting, there is no choice. By abstaining from voting, an important liberty has been wasted. The right for all US citizens to vote has not always been a given. Women and people of color had to fight long and hard to secure this privilege. Further, citizens of countries run by dictators or oppressive regimes would do anything to have the ability to choose their leader that many Americans simply squander.

Voting is crucial not just in presidential elections, but local elections as well. In fact, according to nsucurrent.nova.edu, voting for local leaders may even be more important than for the commander-in-chief. Local and state laws actually have a far greater impact on citizens than the decisions of the president. Every day, Kansans come in contact with something influenced by state or local government. Taxes, public education, roads and the postal service all are impacted by state leaders. While national defense plans and foreign relations are important to the well-being of the United States, they generally do not affect everyday life. State leaders are also the voice of Kansans in the national government. Voting assures that the common interests of the people are represented on a nationwide scale.

The idea of skipping out on voting due to the seemingly bleak candidate choices can be tempting, but this apathy lets the future of this country fall into the hands of radicals who will actually show up to the polls. Instead of judging the candidates by media perceptions or personality, do the proper research on their policies and ideas. Additionally, look into the views of the party they represent. Their party will dictate much of what they actually do as a leader. An informed decision is better than throwing away the only opportunity for citizens to share their opinions and have a say in the direction of their local, state and national governments.

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