November 7, 2018
I was able to vote for the first time in my life. Of course, that doesn’t sound like much, but it really was. One of the most important characteristics of America is the ability to vote. And for once, several other seniors and I were able to do our duty as American citizens and make our voices heard. We were able to get up, go get a ballot, and to mark our choices for State Senator, House Representatives, and amendments to the Missouri Constitution. We were able to influence what path our country and state pursues in the future.
With our votes, we were able to affect state policy. The state was able to increase the minimum wage and to legalize medical marijuana with significant margins of support statewide. As well, we voted for new redistricting regulations and restrictions on lobbyists. This year, voter turnout was 60% of registered voters in Clay County, which is considerably high for a midterm election. That means that plenty of Clay County citizens decided that they were going to go out and exercise their right as an American, as should every student here at North when they are able to register and vote.
Voting is not hard either. You simply need to educate yourself on the candidates and then fill in your choice on the ballot. Of course, you have to register (say, at school or at the DMV), and you have to wait in line. But ensuring that our American democracy does not become a despotic tyranny due to your political apathy is worth it. I know that’s very dramatic, but ultimately that’s what it comes down to.
Voting is what gets the good candidates in and the corrupt or bad ones out. And every vote matters. If everyone believes that their vote mattered then nothing would. But voting gives your voice purpose. It’s not someone else’s job. It’s the duty of every American citizen to vote if they can. Millions have fought for the right to vote (and millions in other countries are still fighting for suffrage).
So look towards the elections in 2020. Then it’s more than just congress you’ll be voting for; there’ll be a vote for the presidential office. And vote in 2020 if you can. And then 2022. Vote. And 2024. Vote.