Opinion: Centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment shows importance of the vote

Eleni Tecos '22, copy editor

One-hundred years of suffrage. 2020 celebrates the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and thus, the hundredth year of women in the polls. My 18th birthday is coming to theaters near you in December 2021, and I can’t help but appreciate living in a country where everyone has the right to vote. This is why I implore you: vote.

I’m a young, LGBTQ woman, and unsurprisingly, I have raging opinions. I want hope. I want love. I want equality. But in order to achieve these dreams, I have to be willing to put credence in myself and my country.

Oftentimes, I hear people say they have lost faith in humanity. Or that there is no place to go but downhill. I cannot believe these words to be true. How can we justify giving up before we have begun?

Yes, the world needs to change. From climate change to terrorism to all of the in-betweens, there are countless issues to be tackled. But how can we expect our voices to be heard if we don’t vote?

In 2016, only 61.4% of the voting-age population voted in the presidential election, according to the United States Census Bureau. For reference, out of 10 random people, only about six of them voted. This means the election almost certainly recorded an inaccurate representation of the people.

In the grand scheme of things, this means that almost half of the population remains silenced– hidden in the grovels of the upper class.

Perhaps surprisingly, the vast gap in elections belongs to the youth. According to the United States Elections Project (EP), new voters are the most underrepresented age group in the polls. In 2016, the EP reported just over 30% of citizens aged 18-29 voted in the general election.

As young people are the future, I believe they should have a considerably large say in what lies ahead. However, whether it is because they are inexperienced, lack resources or simply disregard the election, they remain the smallest portion of the vote.

This has to change. While I cannot speak for those who are prevented from voting, those with the ability to do so must. It is our right and it is our duty to shape our country to the best that it can be. Without a majority of the country’s vote, we claim deficiency is excellence.

When given the opportunity, it is an insult to deny the privileges of voting. Furthermore, it is naive. While the Electoral College has the ultimate say in the vote, American voices fuel its future. In resolution, I will say this: voting is only worthwhile if everyone takes advantage of it.