With election season coming up, we’re more than likely going to be bombarded with advertisements telling us to vote with capital letters and exclamation letters. However, I feel that to be a gross oversimplification. Ideally, voting is one of the most important and weighty decisions an American can make. Ironically, it’s also one of the easiest actions an American can do. The physical task of voting is filling in a bubble on a piece of paper. Most students will fill in thousands of bubbles on pieces of paper in their lifetime.
With the presence of the electoral college, many people would argue that one’s vote doesn’t matter. The electoral college is the system where the votes of the “common people” are used to determine what the electoral voters will vote for. The number of electoral votes is determined by population via the number of representatives plus the two senators that every state gets. Thus the importance of a person’s vote is diluted in more populous states. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that your vote matters, it just changes how it matters.
Since the electoral college is exclusively used for presidential elections, the power of your vote is showcased in state and local elections. I’m not just referring to you, the one person who is reading this specific newspaper at this moment in time, I’m talking to everyone. We live in a generation where elections can and will go down to the wire. I won’t be surprised if the majority of elections will have victory margins as low as double or even single digits.
I don’t want to use this as a platform for my political beliefs, I just want to make it clear how much power you hold in your hands when you go to the ballots. That said, with great power comes great responsibility. Unless you’re a politician, you only get one vote per election. So when we get the chance to vote, we need to be absolutely sure, in our hearts, minds, and souls, that this is the best decision we can make. Otherwise, we reduce our democracy into a puppet show. So in the months to come, I urge all of you to please vote responsibly.