One decision, millions of voices

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not do so; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” – Samuel Adams, U.S. Founding Father

The cornerstone of American democracy is voting. The ballot allows the common person to express their opinion, and to make their voice heard. In a country of 328 million people, most of us are able to make our opinions known. As we prepare for the 2020 general election, many people are unsure about their safety as they go to vote, with some beliefs that it is too great of a risk to go to a polling place and cast their vote in person. Some people have cast mail-in ballots, others have taken advantage of early voting in some states, but many have decided that they will be at the polls on Nov. 3.

However, there are people who have decided that they are not going to vote this year. This is not a new phenomenon. For several years the percentage of people who are eligible to vote but abstain has stayed level. In the 2000 general election just over 51% of Americans who could vote, did. The numbers have gotten a little bit better, and over the past four general elections between 54.87% – 58.23% of the people who were eligible voted.

​This election seems to be bucking that trend, however, according to an article from the Atlantic, “The early-voting totals so far in the general election have only bolstered the case for a record turnout. Although early voting is not a reliable predictor of election outcomes, the sheer number of votes that have been cast by mail or in person more than a month before Election Day has astonished voting experts. More than 4.7 million Americans have already voted early or mailed back their ballots, and turnout in some states, including Wisconsin and Virginia, has exceeded 15 percent of the total votes cast in 2016.”

​In a country that relies on each of its citizens to choose the next person to lead them, it should not be difficult to see why it is so important for people to participate in our political systems. During the final presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden said: “What is on the ballot here is the character of this country.”

As the 2020 election draws closer, we all must participate in our political system. We have a chance to vote, to throw our support behind which ideals most closely resemble our own. No matter who you are going to vote for or your political beliefs, by voting we take control of our lives and country. The decisions about the next four years are going to be made on Nov 3. I do not know about anyone else, but I would rather have a hand in making those decisions than leaving it up to others.