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Opinion: The Importance of a Vote

Photo by Alexander Knobloch

It is my greatest privilege, and one I do not recognize enough, to be born in the United States. I am the daughter of immigrants, probably like many of you reading this. Many of you may be the only people in your family who can vote, like me. 

I was raised by my mother. She, although not being American, has always taught me to take pride in my country and to take responsibility for civic duty. She was never out to persuade me to take one action over another or to choose one party instead of another. She only wanted me to harness my right—because that is what it is, not a privilege—and to use it for what I felt was just: to take responsibility for my community.

Growing up, my mother would tell me the adage “if you do nothing, nothing will change.” She didn’t mean it in a political sense, but I think in today’s climate it is important to consider the statement under those terms.

It may seem insignificant to you that a tiny filled-in bubble on a piece of cardstock can create tidal waves in our political system. You may be so overwhelmed with the current culture war that you are uncomfortable with voting. You may look at all politicians and believe they are all narcissists peddling lies to get you to vote for them. You may be right on one or all of those statements. I’m not here to correct you on any of those.

I am not telling you who to vote for. I am simply telling you to vote. Millions of people around the world do not have the luxury that we do: coming together every two years to cast a ballot that can set our nation on a completely different course. That is within your power, your reach. 

Local elections have notoriously abysmal voter turnout rates in a nation where presidential election voter turnout rates are already terrible. Midterms are arguably more important than presidential elections, so I implore you: get out there and vote for your local representatives. They are the ones who do the most basic things around your town or city, including the boring but incredibly important task of fixing potholes in the road. Did you ever think pesky potholes were political? Now they are.

If you’re a first-time voter, I have a few things to add to make sure you’re prepared for the polls. Check your county Supervisor of Elections website for information on voting locations for both early voting and Election Day. You can visit to check if you are registered to vote if you are unsure. It’s also a great website to check your state’s voting laws; some are stricter than others. Don’t know who to vote for? Visit Ballotpedia for nonpartisan facts about the people on your ballot. Make sure when you show up to vote you have a valid form of ID to prove your identity. People don’t take our generation seriously, but they should—because when we show up to vote, we show up to change history.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur or Rollins College.

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