Your Vote is Your Voice

With the presidential election approaching rapidly, it is beneficial to all the first-time voters to be informed on how vital it is to exercise voting rights.

By the age of 18, in America, you are a legal adult, exciting, right?

You might say yes, but some change their minds after dealing with the responsibilities of becoming a legal adult.

College, working, figuring out what to do with the future ahead, all the elements that most people seem to dread; they all come along with turning 18.

However, one component that is a massive responsibility of turning 18 is voting.

No matter race, religion, ethnicity, or social class, register to vote when you turn 18.

Voting at the turn of 18 was not always the case, however.

The United States constitution enables electoral voting; however, it did not initially state who could vote. This uncertainty left it to the states to decide.

In most cases, it resulted in only white, landowning men with the right to vote.

This left white women, Blacks, and other disadvantaged groups excluded from voting (known as disenfranchisement).

It was not until the 15th Amendment was passed in 1869 that Black men could vote.

Even so, many would-be voters faced artificial hurdles like poll taxes, literacy tests, and other measures meant to discourage them from exercising their voting rights.

This continued until the 24th Amendment in 1964, which ended the poll tax, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, ending the Jim Crow laws.

Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, when the women’s suffrage movement resulted in the 19th Amendment.

Exercising the right to vote is extremely important because voting is a voice.

However, since groups of minorities in America have not always been able to vote, using your vote now allows us to speak up for a change.

A Washington Post article from 2016 provided a great infographic showing explaining how many people had voted:

29.9% of America that was eligible to vote chose not to.
To give a more specific statistic, an article from May 2017 from The Avenue provided statistics on the turnout rate in 2016 elections according to a various minority groups, with an emphasis on Black Americans:

Black Americans showed the sharpest decline in voter turnout with a 7.1% decrease from the 2012 presidential election. A 59.6% turn out, out of all eligible black voters, was the lowest Black turn out since 2000.
An article from May 2017 from the Pew Research Center provided an infographic on the number of Latinx people who have chosen not to vote in 1988-2016 presidential elections:

The number of Latinx eligible voters that did vote has gone up through the years. However, the number of Latinx people who did not cast a vote is much larger. Fourteen million in 2016, to be specific.

Ask yourself what you think would make a great future, take a minute, look at all different aspects.

Now, once you have an idea, ask yourself if you would like to see this happen.

Have your answer?

If your answer was yes, get out and vote! Not just federal elections, but state elections too! Casting that vote is helping determine the future.

If your answer was no, it could be because you don’t know what an ideal future is for you. So, think about what you do not like in this country right now.

There must be at least one thing, so vote for that. Vote for what you believe in. Vote for a change.

Vote for your race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, and anything that puts you in a separate group from the majority.

Your vote is your voice.