Illustration by Andrew Lam

The case against not voting

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In 2016, only 55% of voting-age Americans cast their ballot in the presidential election, making it the lowest since 1996. However, the stakes in the 2020 election are even higher, especially since the elected candidate will be the one leading the United States through this devastating pandemic. Voters must vote to keep their voice in democracy alive.

Refusing to vote is forfeiting an invaluable voice in democracy. The consensus of the people governs how a democracy is run. Not pitching in a voice to the public opinion allows others to assume that voice. This results in an inaccurate representation of what the public wants, undermining the very purpose of democracy, to reflect public sentiment and to represent.

Voting is a chance to move towards change and is one of the only ways an average citizen can be directly involved. 2020 has brought many controversial questions to the political table: how to combat COVID-19, how to revive the economy, and how to address issues on race and equality. Each person has their own thoughts and their own answers to these impactful questions. Voting allows for the best answer to be chosen and guides the government’s initiative on the issues.

The vote loses its apparent value to voters when they feel they are merely picking the lesser of two evils rather than electing a candidate they truly support. Nevertheless, one of those candidates will ultimately be elected, and one should have a say in which candidate it will be. In the best-case scenario, the candidate one prefers is elected. By giving up one’s vote, they are also giving up their right to complain because the opportunity to change the outcome was refused.

Voters must research the candidates, their proposed policies, their background in politics, and any other information needed to best inform their vote. The 2020 election is just around the corner. There is not a more crucial time to start this research than now. When voters are well-informed, they will feel that their vote matters, and their voice in democracy rings loud.

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