Explainer: Why Should I Vote?

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If you’re 18 to 24-years-old and think that your vote won’t make a difference, this blog is for you.

Imagine how many people have said this throughout their lives? Can you imagine how many uncast votes that adds up to? How many votes there could have been to change the course of so many lives? To potentially change history?

History, in fact, gives us examples of election close calls on a national, state and local level.

One such example is the presidential election of 2000. Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore were locked in a fight too close to call. By the end of the night on election day, Florida was the last remaining state with votes to be counted. Either candidate would have to win in Florida in order to win the election.

Ultimately officials in Florida announced the winner. They reported that Bush won the state’s popular vote by less than 300 votes. With the vote being so close, Gore called for a recount in several counties around the state. This resulted in significant controversy, and the debate went to court. A Florida state judge ruled the counties had to recount. This led to the United States Supreme Court getting involved, and they declared that a mandatory recount was unconstitutional. The original result was the final result. In the end, Bush won and received the 270 electoral votes that are required to win. Democrats were angry since Gore had 540,000 more popular votes nationally than Bush. (Learn more about the electoral college vs. the national popular vote. *hyperlink)

Still don’t think your vote matters? Read what Defend Our Future has to say. Defend Our Future is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering young people of all political enticement who are interested in advancing climate change and clean energy solutions that grow our economy and protect the future of our world for the generations to come.

According to Jordyn Cormier from Defend Our Future your vote matters and your vote counts. If you do not show up and vote, your voice will never be heard. If you want change, you have to participate. Cormier, wrote the article Here’s Why Your Vote Really Does Matter. It outlines reasons why your vote matters and gives scenarios showing why the problems we are concerned about the most never get addressed. Why we are not represented properly. 

For example, assume that most people like you decide not to vote. This could amount to 80 percent of college students who are of voting age deciding not to vote in the upcoming election. When you don’t vote, your concerns are not voiced or heard, and these are issues that directly affect you. Issues such as, climate change, college loan debt, minimum wage, and more. You are not being properly represented in the government because you decided not to vote.

Cormier stated, “Research on a past election showed that, of affluent people earning over $150,000 a year, a whopping 50 percent showed up at the polls. On the other hand, of 18 to 24 year olds earning under $30,000 a year, only 12 percent showed up to vote.”

Using this data Cormier asks us to pretend there are 100 young voters for every 20 wealthy voters. If only 12 percent of the youth turn out to vote, that would be just 12 votes. If 65 percent of wealthy people vote that would be 13 votes. “Even with the significant advantage of 80 more voters in their population, these young people get beat out,” Cormier says.

All of these scenarios should motivate you to get out there and vote. When young adults do not come together and create a force to vote, all of the groups that have opposing interests will most likely gain more control over the direction of our democracy for years and years to come. This is simply because more of the groups with opposing interests showed up to the polls.

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ABOUT

Youth Voters Unite is a transmedia storytelling project produced by senior Communication majors at Cabrini University. Students in Senior Convergence: Media for Social Justice are reporting this academic year on the voting process and voting justice topics. Their goal is to educate youth voters on the importance of engaging in the political process and claiming their right to shape their own future. 

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Cabrini University
610 King of Prussia Rd.
Radnor, Pa. 19087
youthvotersunite@gmail.com

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