Youth need to exercise their right to vote

editorial staff

As election day rapidly approaches, many high school seniors will be faced with a simple yet important decision: to vote or not to vote.  With young people constituting such an important section of the electorate, the choice is clear: vote.

Only 47% of eligible voters ages 18-29 turned out on election day 2004 –– a shameful percentage considering the strength and longevity of American democracy.  Young people typically choose not to vote for two basic reasons: they feel as if they can’t make a difference or they are simply too lazy and/or apathetic to get to the polls.  Neither is a legitimate excuse to miss such a vibrant opportunity to demonstrate their ability to rationalize information into an informed choice.

This election has been dubbed the most important election of a generation, mostly because of the crumbling economy.  As it becomes harder and harder to obtain loans to pay for college, students are clearly feeling the consequences of today’s credit crunch.  There is no better way for them to do something about this crisis than to vote.  Barack Obama and John McCain have distinct policy differences concerning the economy, and 18-year-old students have the right and privilege to affect the uncertain economic future by voting for one of these two men.

Health-care reform, education improvement, and bringing a responsible end to the war in Iraq also affect students directly.  Thankfully, many high school seniors will have an opportunity to make their voices heard on such cardinal issues.

Anyone who assumes their vote doesn’t make a difference isn’t thinking about the voting process logically, for their vote counts just as much as every other vote.  While it may be easier to merely accept the fate others have chosen, it is not nearly as dignified or responsible as making an input to society by participating in the political process.  Young voters make up a key demographic for each candidate to win in order to defeat his opponent, so if you’re 18 and registered to vote, make a short and important trip to the voting booth on Tuesday and make your opinions count.