Why Voting Matters
You may be tired of hearing people say that “this is the most important election in your lifetime!” But there’s a reason for such strong appeals to voters: the act of voting is one of the most powerful political tools you have as a citizen. In the modern age many people complain that they feel their vote has no meaning, but that’s just not true. Your vote matters, and here are several reasons why:
- In smaller-scale elections that normally feature low turnout, individual voters become much more important. Primaries and local elections often come down to a very small number of votes. Contests for individual seats have been decided by a single vote. Sometimes the outcome of one close, low-turnout race can decide control of an entire statehouse, a critical thing in an era when so much policy action actually takes place at local levels.
- Small margins have huge impacts on bigger elections too. In 2020, Joe Biden won the popular vote by almost seven million. But in terms of the Electoral College, he won in three key states by a total of only 44,000 votes. If Trump had won them, the resultant tie in the Electoral College would have been decided by the Republican House of Representatives. By the same turn, Trump won the Electoral College in 2016 by only 80,000 total votes in six swing states, a miniscule percentage.
- Despite being a right, a person’s vote can effectively be taken away. Multiple forms of voter suppression—including voter ID laws, voter roll purges, polling place closures, and mail-in ballot restrictions—prevent people from casting their votes, while gerrymandered districts reduce the effectiveness of individual votes. The ability to vote should never be taken for granted
The hard work of progress must be protected by hard work at the ballot box. Voting in every election is paramount, because you never know how few votes can make a world of difference. Even if you are not the deciding vote, you can play a vital part in making sure the right person is put up for office, or the political extremist doesn’t become your local representative. VOTE.