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Opinion

Voting rights in U.S. an earned privilege

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November 7, 2014

The first full week of November upon us, so that means it is time for elections. This year is the midterm (or state) elections in the U.S., and Americans are rushing to their polling places to cast a ballot.

Midterm elections mark the middle of the president’s term and each state votes for their governor, senators, and House representatives. They also vote for offices held in each city such as sheriff and judge. While this may not seem quite as important as the major presidential election–which takes places every four years–it still is important to get out and cast a vote. You never know the impact it will make.

Many of us here on campus are now at least 18-years-old– the age in the U.S. when Americans are granted the right to vote. We also have the right to abstain from voting, for all of us are not following politics closely. A lot of people that choose not to vote believe that one vote out of millions is not going to make any difference in the long run.

But why would people pass up exercising a right when we have to fight for it every day? Because of the efforts by both our founding fathers and our military serving overseas fighting for our freedom, being able to vote is a privilege that many around the world do not get.

If you do not know a lot about politics or it seems confusing or unimportant, it is beneficial to do some research. The long list of candidates running in each election may become overwhelming, and you may not know who they all are, but a good amount of research on each major candidate–such as governor and senator–will help you form an opinion about who is best fit to lead your state or region.

Local issues these candidates face include a variety of things from healthcare to roads and local businesses. Candidates will put more effort into one issue over another, believing that those will affect people the most. Research will help you decide which issues are most important to you and which candidates agree.

The importance of voting is especially beneficial in the long run: The results of your vote will show in the condition of roads, the price of healthcare, and the money spent on goods and services like a new stadium or public transportation. The more votes that are cast in each election, the more people in office will be able to represent their citizens more accurately.

Many countries are not guaranteed a right to vote. Instead, people are often elected without their say. The fact that we get to vote is a unique privilege that we should always take advantage of when presented to us. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, no matter what side you agree with, and help see positive growth in your region.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.