The importance of voting

Dyllan Jones, Staff Writer

It doesn’t take cold hard facts to convince someone that voting is important. Some parents stress its significance from the moment a child can read and write, ensuring that they will one day grow to be active members of society that they themselves will be able to relate to on a more mature level.

Election time is fast approaching, and those who are not old enough to legally participate in the voting process may find themselves under-represented. Thankfully, even those people have some hope.

17-year-olds on the fast track to becoming 18 may legally register to vote, if their birthday falls some time before the elections. If your birthday does not come before election, you’re still not left completely in the dark; anyone with a hunger for knowledge and a means of obtaining it may do so to prepare themselves for the future.

Understandably, not everyone views voting in a particularly positive light — even those who are self-proclaimed endorsers of representative government — because they may believe that the process is unnecessary. Of course, some of the votes must matter or there would be no democratic system to speak of. Much of this distaste for the United States’ handling of representation stems from its utilization of the Electoral College, the institution which ultimately elects the new president.

This does not negate the usefulness of personal voting; although a single vote isn’t likely to change the outcome of an election, the impact a large group of like-minded individuals can make is astounding. We are given so many chances to become a part of the process, but few consider those landmarks as important as the final vote that determines the outcome of the presidential race. Consider the following: the people you support can’t get to the end of the race unless they are allowed to get there.

As it is with all elections, the president is the main topic that crosses people’s mind: who will they be, what will they do to benefit the country?

Something that crosses the public mind far less often is the impact of the legislative branch of the government. As anyone with a history of watching Schoolhouse Rock understands, the legislative branch makes the laws, the judicial branch interprets the laws, and the executive branch enforces them.

Since enforcing the law comes at the end of the chain, and as such, the person at “the top” is essentially the boss of the nation, what do people think of the people slightly below them on the food chain? Very little, if we’re going off of the most common viewpoints on the matter, but they are more important than we usually give them credit for.

Electing local officials is just as, if not more important, than choosing the new leader of the free world. These are the people who not only represent your state, but a good chunk of the federal system itself.

Regardless of your opinion on the practicality of voting, or its necessity, it’s a painless process for those eligible. A high school student nearing the end of their secondary schooling career is already beginning to make decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Representing yourself, even if done only as a matter of principle, is a right we can never take for granted.