UNITED STATES─Why do you vote? I hear a lot of people say that often and it doesn’t baffle me, but it makes me think why some people think there vote does not matter. Yes, it is a single vote, but it’s your vote. That is the thing I attempt to get across to so many people. If you don’t vote, you’re allowing someone else to make a decision for you.

I recall being 16 and desperately wanting to vote, but because of federal law, you can only vote at the age of 18. Now we can have 3-4 columns on why I don’t agree with this logic, but let’s save that for a later date. What I will say is that some 16 year-olds are quite mature, and if that is not argument enough, explain why you think someone who is 16 should be behind the wheel over someone who is 18? Who is more mature in that predicament? Exactly my point.

With that said, let’s get back to the issue at hand, which is the topic of voting. I vote because I don’t just want to have my voice heard, but I vote out of respect for my grandparents who at a time did NOT have the opportunity to vote. We all know about the Civil Rights Movement and how brutal it was for many African Americans who were beat, sprayed with water hoses, attacked by dogs and other disturbing actions to suppress the vote.

I just want you to imagine being viciously attacked by a dog, beaten or sprayed with a fire hose because you wanted to cast your vote. How crazy is that? A bigger question is how in the world was this even legal. It is caused by fear, because people feared the notion that the power they had would soon be taken away from them. With that said, if I tried to make every excuse in the world to not vote, I would be doing a disservice to all those people who voted so hard for me to have that right. It bothers me at times when people don’t vote. I’m a firm believer if you have the right to vote, nothing should stop you from voting unless you’re on your deathbed and just can’t get to a polling location.

However, even being on your deathbed is a hard excuse to make, with absentee voting so popular now and many states allowing that option to those who have difficulty getting to a polling location they can cast a ballot that way. Of course another excuse we hear is I don’t like any of the candidates running in a particular race. Yes, that is indeed a difficult pill to swallow, but I would argue try to find at least one candidate who has policies or a mission goal that aligns with your ideologies and interest. If not, you can still vote, just abstain from selecting a particular candidate.

A lot of the time when Election Day comes around so many people think it’s only important to vote for the President of the United States, but think again. The POTUS has power, but not to the level that members of Congress, the Senate, Mayor, District Attorney, Judges and local government has. These people tend to write and enact laws people! Those laws can greatly impact how you navigate your life and the world you, your family and your children live in for years to come.

Written By Jason Jones