You may think that your vote doesn’t matter; that speaking up for what you believe in would be like throwing a pebble in an ocean. It may make a small splash, but it wouldn’t affect the direction of the waves. But one voice joined together with others can create a tremendous change. One vote can be the deciding factor in a race. In Virginia, Republican David Yancey won reelection in his state house district by having his name drawn out of a bowl. After a recount and a court decision, he and his opponent Democrat Shelly Simonds were tied. Their names were written down and placed in identical containers to be drawn out of a bowl, with Yancey emerging the winner. This could have all been avoided if simply one more person had voted. One vote was the difference between the the Virginia House of Delegates being equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, or having a Republican majority.
Voting turnout directly correlates with age as the highest is 60+ followed by 45-59, then 30-44, and finally 18-29. Of those who do vote, it is shown that millennials tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic compared to older generations, who are more equally split. Millennials make up thirty percent of the voting population but only approximately half actually turned out to the 2016 election. With all of the demand for change on so many issues like sexual assault, gun violence, and equal rights issues, those who support such causes need to use their vote to try to make those changes. Research has shown that if more people voted than the laws would be what was best for the majority and not for the specific demographics that are the current voters. It has also been said that the campaigns would change to appeal to the majority which could bring about great change in our laws and society at large. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find a candidate who aligns with one’sviews perfectly, but there is always a choice that is at least slightly better than the others.
There are so many ways to enact change. You could protest or become a spokesperson and spread your messages and ideas to others that may not have heard it or understood it. You could do this in many ways. There are people who speak out just for the issues they believe in and have gained fame and notoriety around those issues like Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, who started speaking out against gun violence after the tragedy and is now well known and has had interviews with Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel as well as many other popular news sites. Others like actors and singers speak out about issues they believe in because they already have a following. However this can have negative effects as they could get backlash and lose fans. This has caused many famous people to stay silent on their opinions on many of these topics.
There is a lot of talk currently about the midterm elections. There was quite a bit of public outrage over Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. He has been accused of sexual assault, which brought up many debates on false accusations, believing the victim and other such normally taboo subjects. His confirmation sparked a movement called ‘Blue Wave’. Celebrities and online influencers who have before remained neutral and not spoken up about politics are now speaking up urging people to vote Democrat in the coming election. We don’t yet know how much of an effect this so-called “Blue Wave” will have on the election. It’s a complicated issue and it is hard to predict the outcome. Regardless of whether you vote Democrat or Republican, you still need to vote. If you want change or if you want things to stay completely the same, what you think has no effect on the outcome unless you cast your ballot and make that little bit of difference that can end up being a lot. Because the truth is, every vote matters. If everyone decided to stay home thinking, ‘What is one vote going to change?’, then nothing would ever change.
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