Understanding The Importance Of Voting

This article is to remind Americans of the importance of their voting.

With the presidential election upon us, it is more important than ever to get out and vote. Many people think that their vote does not matter. Imagine if everyone felt that way - we would never elect a president! There have been many, many elections - not just on a local level - that have been decided by less than 100 votes. So thinking that your vote does not count could not be farther from the truth.

Maybe you feel that when it comes down to it, all the candidates are the same, so why bother voting. Even if this is how you truly feel, remember that the winning president-elect may have an enormous impact on our children's future, not just for four years but for 40 years. How? Because with each new president that is elected, there is a chance that a United States Supreme Court Justice will retire. The president alone has the power to nominate a new Justice, and Supreme Court Justices hold office for life. While Congress and the President may pass laws and veto bills, ultimately it is the Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution and consequently determines how each American will live his or her life.

If you are still not convinced of the impact the Supreme Court has had on this country and the differences in the various presidential appointments to the Court, compare the Supreme Court decisions of the late 60's and early 70's - Miranda v. State of Arizona, Roe v. Wade with the Court's decisions of the 80's that have gradually whittled away at the decisions of a more liberal Supreme Court. Chances are the next president will nominate at least two Justices to the Supreme Court. This will affect not only your life but that of your children and grandchildren. So the question then comes down to which candidate would you prefer to choose the most influential position in this country, that of a United States Supreme Court Justice.

Without minimizing the importance of the presidential election, it is also important to vote in your state and local elections as well. Do you complain about the policies of your children's school? If so, ask yourself, "Did I vote for the members of our school board? Do I even know the members of the school board?" Change starts at a grass roots level whether you live on a farm or in the inner city, and all change starts by electing people to implement change, whether it is a mayor or a president.

Remember, too, when you are unhappy with the condition of your town's roads or your state's tax rate, being involved, voting for and knowing your elected officials will enable you to voice your complaints to the appropriate representatives. You voted for them and they work for you.

Some other useless reasons for not voting ares that the polls are too crowded, or you cannot get there on time, or you do not have transportation. There are many organizations that volunteer their time to enssure everyone's right to vote. If you need a ride, call the League of Women Voters; if you know you cannot get to the polls on time, request an absentee ballot. What could be easier than voting by mail?

Whether the excuse is apathy or laziness, voting has become a privilege that far many too Americans take for granted. The next time you neglect to vote, ask yourself how you would feel if you didn't have a choice - to elect a president, or choose a job, or decide how many children to have. There are many countries where a person does not have a choice, and I'm sure they would gladly change places with you for the fundamental privilege of voting!

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