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The U.S. Presidential Election – A Message to Citizens of the United States

Updated on September 8, 2012
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Before You Complain...

In November, citizens of the United States will be given the opportunity to do something that many people who live in other countries would be willing to risk their lives to do. As you might have guessed, I’m talking about voting in a free and open democratic election.

Even in America, the right to vote has not always been granted to all of its citizens.

Only after the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870 was it illegal to deny citizens the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

And, it wasn’t until 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, that all women were given the right to vote in the United States.

Furthermore, only after the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 were U.S. Citizens that were members of the seven Uniformed Services, the Merchant Marine, their family members, and other U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States given the legal basis to register to vote and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

In fact, some U.S. citizens are still prevented from voting (e.g., convicted felons in some states, citizens under the age of 18, citizens who don’t meet residency requirements, etc.)

Even though many people have fought for their right to vote in the past, many U.S. citizens still choose not to.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 64% of voting-age citizens voted in the November 2008 election.

That means that 36% of voting-age citizens did not exercise their right to vote.

I’d speculate that if these citizens were told that they couldn’t vote, they would be up in arms, saying that they were being discriminated against.

In my opinion, voting is not only your right as a citizen of the United States; it is your duty to vote.

I’m not arguing that you should vote for one candidate over the other. In fact, if you don’t like any of your choices, choosing to cast a ballot with no vote or a write-in candidate is perfectly acceptable.

I think of voting as the price that you pay in order to complain about what is happening in the country. If you don’t vote, I don’t think that you have the right to complain.

Therefore, this is my message to citizens of the United States: Cast your ballot in November or quit your bitchin’.

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    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      The right to vote is only part of the issue, voting intelligent is the important but neglected issue today.

      Voting Row A or Row B is as bad as not voting.

    • Chad Thiele profile image
      Author

      Chad Thiele 4 years ago from Hudson, Wisconsin

      I agree with you on the point that making an informed decision about who you vote for is important.

      However, not everyone has time to keep up with all the issues and where candidates stand on those issues. Furthermore, what a candidate says during the election process and what happens when he or she is elected are often two different things. Often we have to vote, and hope for the best.

      That said, even if a person is undecided or uninformed, I think that it is our civic duty to vote. If a citizen doesn’t have a basis for voting, then it would be best that they cast the ballot with no vote or a write-in candidate. The point is that people have fought for our right to vote, therefore the least we can do is to take the time to go to the polls and cast our ballot. And, if people go through that much effort, hopefully they will take the time to learn where candidates stand on the major issues that are important to them.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      I do not thin people should vote on party lines. I do not think they should vote because their spouse or parents voted a particular way.

      I just people should vote.

      A long, long time ago, in one of my first editorials for my college newspapers I wrote that too many elections were decided by the voting majority of a minority part of the population. By not voting, we are letting a relatively small part of those eligible to vote, make our decisions for us.

      I agree with you that people should vote. I do not expect people under 18 to be eligible to vote. There has to be a cutoff age, or parents will be voting for children. Convicted felons lose many rights when convicted and the ability to vote is one of them. I do not have a problem with that. If they get a pardon, they can regain that right.

      Voted up.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Chad

      I have to disagree, voting without doing your homework on the candidates is even worse than not voting.

      So people get to the polls, and many of them don't know the issues or the candidates and you think that they will improve the country just by casting their uninformed, I didn't have time to know what is going on ballot.

      I can't agree that is the better course of action for voting.

    • Chad Thiele profile image
      Author

      Chad Thiele 4 years ago from Hudson, Wisconsin

      Larry:

      I agree with you on all the points that you made.

      People should for vote for the person who they think is the best candidate for the job. They shouldn’t necessarily vote based on party or how other people voted.

      But, most importantly, they should vote.

      I also agree with you on the age restriction. And, I don’t have a problem with a convicted felon losing the right to vote, either.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Chad

    • Chad Thiele profile image
      Author

      Chad Thiele 4 years ago from Hudson, Wisconsin

      ib radmasters:

      I understand the point that you are making. This is part of the reason that the founding fathers chose to base our government on a representative democracy, rather than a direct democracy. You need to be informed about all the facts before you can make the correct choice on each issue. It is impossible for everyone to do that on every issue.

      I think that most people have an opinion about what should be done to move our country forward. The question then is to find the candidate that best matches your personal ideology. (However, that is not always possible.)

      There are three issues with the argument that an uniformed vote is worse than not voting at all.

      1) What a candidate says during the election process and what happens when he or she is elected are often two different things.

      2) How much information is enough to make an informed decision? If people were required to know how a candidate would vote on every issue, then nobody could vote.

      3) If only informed voters voted, then many people with low levels of education would be excluded. Therefore, candidates would be able to ignore certain subsets of the population. When people from all socioeconomic backgrounds vote, candidates have to pay attention to everyone, not just the people who vote.

      I’m not sure if my argument is going to change your mind. But, that is the other great thing about America (and the Internet), we are free to disagree.

      Thank you again for the comment.

      Chad

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