Voting for change

Voting for change

Camryn Souders, Staff Reporter

So often, people take to social media platforms to voice their complaints. Not enough people take it to the polls to express their anger or disappointment in our government. To make your voice count, decide who makes our laws, and have someone who represents you, go out and vote. 

Not using the right to vote, means missing out on one of the greatest parts of America. Allowing other voters to determine who represents you and makes decisions on your behalf means throwing away an essential part of our country. Voting means wishes can be granted. You can make the government look how you think it should through voting for people with similar interests and morals.

“[Some voters] are patriots, those who love our country and recognize the wonderful democracy we live in,” stated Mike Bennett, the supervisor of elections for Manatee County, in regards to why people vote. “Those people look at voting as a duty and privilege, and they research the candidates and issues, they vote for all of the right reason.”

Every American citizen can cause change just by filling out a ballet. Even high schoolers. At the age of 16, you can preregister. 18 year-olds can register the day they turn 18. An analysis conducted by Duke University found that allowing preregistration increases voter turnout by 8 to 13 points among young voters with 83 percent casting ballots. In 2016, 47 percent of eligible teenagers (18-19 years old) were registered to vote. That same year, only 37 percent of registered teens voted. Over a third of all teenagers said they were not interested in the elections or politics in general. That 63 percent of teenagers wasted a valuable gift given to them: the right to decide their future.

Bennett’s advice for students considering voting is to register with a party. Registering with no party affiliation takes them out of the primary selection. If you’re still undecided but the deadline is coming up, register as either. Later on, when you research more and decide, you can update your political party.

Polls all over the nation experienced an increase of voters they had never seen before this past primary election day on Nov. 6. Nearly 70 percent of voters in Manatee County turned out. To put it in perspective, the last primary elections in 2016 had only a 26% voter turnout. Voting is obviously becoming more and more crucial. Get involved, or others will decide the future you have to live in. Register to vote, research, and be ready for the next election.