Why, if you can, need to vote..

Amanda Bradford, Staff Writer

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I have been anticipating being able to vote ever since I was in kindergarten and my class cast our votes in the 2004 election of John Kerry and George W. Bush by writing our names on slips of paper and placing them in plastic jars.

     Now that I have recently turned 18 and am able to cast a real vote in the upcoming election, I realize just how important voicing my opinion will be. No matter the outcome, this will be a historic election and opting out because neither candidate perfectly fulfills your desires is simply not an option.

      Especially in the wake of Bernie Sanders losing the democratic nomination, I have heard too many people say they will either not be voting or will be writing in Bernie’s name on their ballot. This is highly unproductive and detrimental on two levels, both leading to the same conclusion. One: not voting is the easiest way to help the other side win. Every non-vote for Hillary is a vote for Trump and vice versa. For example, if two people vote, one for Hillary and one for Trump, the votes negate each other. But say one person votes for Hillary and the other person stays home on election day. That is one more vote for Hillary than there would have been if that person had cast their vote.

      We live in a representative republic, not a direct democracy (thanks Dokken), so even though the Electoral College ultimately elects the president, your voice is still heard and your vote can make a difference.

     Two: writing in someone’s name who is not on the ballot will take away votes from one party and guarantee the other’s election. If enough people write in Bernie instead of voting for Hillary, the democratic vote will split and Trump will win by a landslide. Remember, this is just my opinion, so if you want to live in a world in which fear, hatred, bigotry, ignorance, racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia are promoted, then by all means, write in Bernie Sanders on election day.

     Nevada is a battleground state, meaning we have no distinct party affiliation, which makes our individual votes even more important. The state is not overwhelmingly republican or democratic so the winner of the popular vote will essentially boil down to which party has a greater voter turnout.

     The next president will also have the ability to appoint one or more Supreme Court Justices which will largely affect the future of our country. Supreme Court case decisions have been historically known to change the fabric of our nation, from Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that overturned the “separate but equal” clause to Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that decided gay marriage was a constitutional right. The rights of minorities of all variations could be at stake and the only way to protect the rights that people have earned and the rights they have yet to gain, is by electing a president who will help preserve and fight for those rights.

     In the ballots on November 8th, there will also be a place where you can vote for your state representatives. It is imperative that you educate yourself on and vote for the people who will represent your state akin to your vote for president. If a democratic president is elected but the majority of the House of Representatives or the Senate is republican, the likelihood that the president will be able to see their plans and promises through is not very high.

     We are the voice of the next generation. Young adults talk about the changes we desire constantly, and yet we have the lowest voter turnout of all age groups. In order to effect change we need to take the initiative to go to the polls on election day and cast our votes. A tweet is not a vote. A facebook post is not a vote.

  The majority of people do not vote because they are ill-informed on how and where to vote. Consider yourselves informed. If you will be 18 before November 8th of this year, then register right now at www.registertovotenv.gov and look for polling places near you at www.vote411.org.

Your voice matters.

Your vote matters.

Use it.