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Even before our nation was founded, the necessity to be represented in government glinted in the hearts of the Colonists like a razor. Those individuals would go on to create a new country—one based on participation in government. From that point forward, citizen participation became a hallmark of American politics. However, after each election—especially midterms—the voting rates among certain groups are significantly lower than they should be. In today's fast-paced society, elections are pushed to the back burner for many. They are seen as an essential event, but the meaning and importance have disappeared from much of the electorate. Without the right to vote, America would lose a key sense of its identity. Voting is significant because it allows citizens to participate in government, hold officeholders accountable, and honor those who have died for the right to vote.
"Without the right to vote, America would lose a key sense of its identity."
Voting is one of the fundamental rights of American Society. The Declaration of Independence makes no direct reference to voting, but does instruct citizens to change the government if it becomes abusive or corrupt. The right to vote gives ordinary citizens the ability to participate in the functions of state and federal government. By voting for specific candidates, citizens can directly influence who is elected to office. Through directly electing candidates to office, citizens also directly influence the numerous races for state positions and some races for federal positions. When citizens vote for a certain candidate, like J.D. Vance for U.S. Senate or Mike DeWine for governor, they can influence what policies are brought forth in their state and in the federal government. Through voting, everyday individuals can actively participate in government functions. However, each election season also brings an onslaught of advertisements and information, so how do voters know whom to elect? The answer lies in research.
During election seasons, citizens are bombarded with information. As a result, it can be difficult to know whom someone should support and whom someone should oppose. This year alone, every state has elections, and numerous positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate are up for grabs. With the insane amount of information, voters need to be informed so they know whom they want in office. Through this research effort, voters can grow and expand their knowledge and beliefs. The political world is constantly changing. Through researching different elections and their respective candidates, citizens can better understand what issues they view as most important. Television advertisements, mail literature, or even in-person events can help inform voters about what issues candidates care about and help citizens learn which issues are most important to them. Then, citizens can share these newfound opinions and beliefs by voting for certain candidates.
"Television advertisements, mail literature, or even in-person events can help inform voters about what issues candidates care about and help citizens learn which issues are most important to them."
Voting in elections allows people to elect individuals they feel would best represent them to positions of power. When citizens vote for a candidate, they are voting for someone they feel would best represent their interests. Then, those candidates, if elected, can go before the state or even the federal government and propose legislation in favor of the voters' agendas. For example, U.S. Senate-candidate J.D. Vance discussed issues regarding the southern U.S. border in a rally in early October. He targeted voters who are passionate about immigration issues and voters who feel stricter rules need to be put in place. Those voters will likely support Vance to get him into the Senate with hopes he proposes and supports stricter immigration policies. Scenarios like this are happening all over the country right now; candidates appeal to passionate voters about issues they will support if elected. However, if a candidate does not live up to the expectations of their constituents, voting also allows citizens to change things up.
Officeholders who favorably represent their citizens are rewarded with positive public approval and reelection. If an officeholder, in the eyes of the public, does not represent his or her constituents, those voters can punish the candidate with threats of replacement. Elected officials who focus only on their wealthies donors or go against promises they made will lose the trust of their voters. In the next election, these voters can choose to replace said officeholder with a new candidate in the primary or general election. Ideally, this new candidate will more fully represent his or her constituents. Voting provides citizens with opportunities to hold officeholders accountable for their jobs and positions. However, voting also provides a way for citizens to honor those who have died fighting for this right.
"Voting provides citizens with opportunities to hold officer holders accountable"
Countless soldiers since the Revolutionary War have died fighting to protect the freedoms and rights we cherish. Throughout history's greatest conflicts (World War I, World War II, Vietnam War), soldiers have died fighting to keep these freedoms and rights alive. Whenever someone enters a voting booth, he or she honors those who have fallen fighting for our country. Utilizing the right to vote is something small that everyday citizens can do to honor the sacrifices that soldiers have made time and time again.
Regardless of why people choose to vote, voting is an extremely important right. Whether it is to voice one's opinions, research and grow their opinions, or honor the fallen, it cannot be overstated that the right to vote is arguable the single most important aspect of American society.
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