Op-Eds Opinion

Margaros: If there was ever a time to vote, it is now

Jack Margaros
@JackMargaros

Casting your vote is one of the simplest, yet most impactful things you can do for your country. 

It takes minimal effort, and greatly impacts your state’s electoral standing. There were 232 million Americans eligible to vote in 2016, and only 60 percent of them actually exercised their right, according to Business Insider

That figure, compared to the last two elections, is high, but voting numbers have remained stagnant for the past two decades — nothing like the late 1800s and early 1900s, when three- quarters of eligible voters did so. 

Granted, the population of the United States has been on the rise for a number of years. Tuesday marks National Voter Registration Day, a national movement to make sure Americans’ voices can be heard. Since the holiday’s inception in 2012, nearly 3 million Americans have registered on the fourth Tuesday of September in the past two elections. 

There’s always those people who choose not to vote simply because they don’t want to be associated with either party. 

But the decision to be apolitical is a political decision in itself. Silence communicates that you don’t care and the country is fine where it’s at. With this stance, you shelter yourself from the inequalities and injustices that are present in the United States, and there’s been a lot in the past six months. 

In a country where we have the ability to choose our leaders, it’s exceedingly disappointing that 40 percent of the eligible population (93 million Americans) don’t recognize the privilege of voting and the impact those votes could have made.

It’s so easy to criticize our leaders, yet seemingly difficult to fill out a ballot. 

If you are unsatisfied with our current administration, then vote.

If you are satisfied with our current administration, then vote.

It is the best way to immediately impact your country, for change or not. 

Especially in the 2020 Presidential Election, the candidates could not be more pitted against each other. Supporters on both sides fervently despise the other. The candidates constantly bash each other. No doubt, it could be one of the more eventful elections in recent history. 

Voting helps, even if it does not seem like it. The 2016 Election was very close. Hilary Clinton even won the popular vote, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College. Swing states, or states that could be reasonably won by either the Republican or Democrat party, are even more important. In 2016, Trump’s margin of victory in the swing states was less than 1 percent. Five hundred votes one way or the other could have changed the outcome. 

We have several students on this campus from the supposed swing states this year: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and even my home state of Virginia. Those votes carry even more weight. 

Your vote could be part of a small group that swings the momentum the opposite way. With mail-in voting becoming a more accessible option this year, the process is even simpler. 

The national push toward voting is encouraging to see. LeBron James’ More than a Vote initiative fights voter suppression. NBA arenas are opening their doors as polling sites.

There’s always encouragement to vote once election time hits, but I don’t remember a movement this large in my lifetime.

Especially within my age group, I’m hoping we’ll see record turnout among the 18-29 age group. According to a Brookings report, 50 percent of the eligible 18-29 year olds voted in the 2016 election. The turnout has been stagnant over the past four elections, but got as low as 41 percent in 2000. 

That needs to change.

The events that have transpired in the past six months have inspired Americans to recognize the importance of this election, and question the legitimacy of each candidates’ plan to lead us out of it all. 

We, as a campus community, must follow suit.

Go and cast your vote.

It matters. 

Photo: BBC.com

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