The student news website of Omaha Central High School

A responsibility to vote

October 6, 2016

Our Founding Fathers sacrificed a lot in order to give more freedoms and power to the citizens. One of these freedoms that these men deemed pertinent to the survival of democracy was the right to vote. Later on, the right to vote included African American men once the 15th Amendment was ratified. Further, the Women’s Suffrage Movement took a stand against the 1920’s stereotypical stay-at-home mom and, after much sacrifice, gained women the right to vote. Even after this, the 26th Amendment made it possible for people 18 and older to vote. However, amidst this persistence among groups to ensure people equal opportunities to vote in our country, voting turnout is respectively low in our society today.

Breaking it down even further, it is understood that voting turnout among young people is the lowest. The first time there was actually an increase in younger people voting was when President Barack Obama ran for his first term, but beginning during this second term, the numbers went down again. It is a pressing issue in politics today on how to encourage young people to vote.

Both political candidates this year are trying to appeal to the younger adults in hope to attract their vote and have supported issues that younger people are passionate about on their party platform. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has made it a focus in her campaign to visit high schools and give speeches there, and she even took selfies with Omaha North’s football players when she stopped along her campaign in Nebraska.

It is important that political figures stress the importance of voting for younger Americans not only because the 26th Amendment should not stand for nothing, but more because these young Americans will one day be the face of the nation. One of these younger Americans will one day mature and become the president, many may run for Congress and even more will find positions throughout other levels of government. This is daunting when you put it into perspective that many young voters fail to cast their votes once elections come along.

Who wants the leaders of our nation to be among a group of people that only seem to care about Twitter and how to contour their face right?

Obviously this is an exaggeration, but my point is that more teenagers and young adults need to prioritize and realize that politics are not “boring” or “too confusing,” but rather that it is something that they can be passionate about and help advocate for what they believe in. There are many young people involved in supporting issues such as Black Lives Matter, so it would only make sense for them to develop a political opinion based on their views and find a candidate that supports views similar to theirs.

Hopefully this election brings more young people to the polls, and hopefully, if the numbers do increase, they do not go back down after Republican Donald Trump or Clinton is elected for his or her first term. Especially since there are multiple ways to vote, including through mail or online, there should be no excuse for people very passionate about other issues today to not cast a vote, which is a right many people suffered greatly to achieve.

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