Why Don’t People Vote: Why You’re Excuses May Not Be the Best

It is that time again my fellow college students, it’s now time for your newsfeeds to be filled with articles and videos covering the upcoming presidential elections! In previous elections I would have just continued scrolling in a favor of yet another cat video, but this election is different. This is the first year that I’m going to be able to have a say in who will be the next President of the United States. I’m definitely going to vote, but I know that many of my fellow student do not have the intention to do so. Why is that?

I’ve been told time and again by those who don’t vote that their one vote isn’t going to change anything so why does it matter? Why does their opinion matter? To those who think this, I have this to say: you’re an idiot. Of course your opinion matters. You live in a world that is changing drastically by the minute and people our age are starting revolutions because they spoke out about their opinions. Yes, voting isn’t exactly the same as presenting a speech to the United Nations about gender equality, but staying in that mindset, thinking that your opinion doesn’t matter, may be the only thing stopping you from doing so. We all want to change the world for the better. Voting for a President, whether they be liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican, may help bring that change.

You may be asking yourself, why is it so important that I vote if it’s only going to be one vote? Well, think of it as kind of a snowball effect. If you tell a friend that you’re not voting because your vote will only count as a small percentage of the whole, they may agree. Then they tell their friends why they’re not voting. Some of them agree. This cycle continues up until voting day and suddenly the candidate that you were rooting for isn’t doing so well. You’re confused because you went to one of their rallies and there were so many people there that you were sure they were going to win. But, because of that snowball effect, a potentially large group of people didn’t vote. That group could have been the ones to tip the scale in favor of your candidate, but because you told one person that their vote didn’t really matter, suddenly your candidate’s rival has the upper hand. Simply because they had more voters come out to vote for them. How fair does that sound? One vote, one opinion, may be powerful enough to cause others to go out and do the same. That’s why candidates make speeches and have people pledge to vote for them. People normally follow the crowd, whether they know it or not, and the more people you get to vote, the more friends they’ll tell that they are voting. Suddenly you have a positive snowball effect.

I’ve read, and heard, many excuses when it comes to voting. One of my least favorite excuses is that registering to vote is too difficult and not worth the time it takes to do so. Well, fun fact, in the wonderful state of Illinois, voters can register to vote online. It takes about five minutes and you get your voter registration card within two weeks of registering. You can also register at the polls, all you need is a form of identification and mail that is addressed to you with your current address as well as your social security number. I reregistered in Decatur on the day of primaries and it was an extremely easy process that only took a few minutes. For those of you who are from out of state, you can register for a voter absentee ballot and be able to vote in your own state primaries.

Despite all the excuses that a person can have when it comes to voting, unless you are physically unable, none of those excuses are good excuses. It’s important to vote and get your voice out there. Who knows, you and your friends may be the ones to tip the scale in your candidate’s favor.