Why is Voting Important?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Why is voting important? Through the work of five amendments to the constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Americans have been fighting for the right to vote to be written into our laws. The 14th amendment gives all persons with U.S. citizenship rights and privileges, including the right to vote. The 15th amendment declared that no citizen is to be denied the right to vote based on race or color. This amendment was fought against by the enactment of Jim Crow Laws in the American South in an effort to prevent free slaves from voting.

The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. The 24th amendment declared that there would be no poll tax, and the 26th amendment declared that citizens 18 or older are given the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited denying a citizen the right to vote based discriminatory practices, fighting against Jim Crow laws. From 1868 to 1971, Americans have been fighting to make the right to vote a reality for the people of today regardless of race, gender or education.

Why is voting important? Voting is important because even though it is not a requirement, it is considered a civic responsibility. The people of the United States have a responsibility to make their voices heard. A higher voter turnout makes the democracy more representative. If only the same few people continue to vote, their opinions will be the only ones resulting in legislative change. A small group would be the sole voices making decisions that affect all.

The presidential election is not the only time to vote. Local elections “decide on the issues that can most directly affect you, including reproductive rights, public school control and discrimination laws,” according to Daniel Marans and Kim Bellware at the Huffington Post. Smaller elections like city mayor or even school board members can have significant implications. A vote for any of these offices has the potential to make an opinion heard, even if the office is not as grand as the office of the presidency.

Why is voting important? Because Americans centuries ago fought against a monarchy to give the people of today’s America the opportunity to choose their own leaders instead of a king. The founding fathers believed in democracy and the importance of a government for the people and by the people. If the people do not vote, the country will be reduced to a government neither for the people nor by the people.

Karyn Adams

Photo: Flickr

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