Voters should strive to be well – informed

Maryann Xue, Managing Editor

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On the first Tuesday of November, millions of people enter a polling place to cast their vote for who they believe is best fit to lead them. This is already only a mere percentage of all eligible voters in the country, and even then, those who do vote are often uninformed.

In many ways, voting has become somewhat of a social event, where people are pressured into voting for who their family or peers vote for, or who the media portrays as the better candidate, rather than following their own beliefs. Many people vote for a political party that they identify with without even researching the issues that the candidate hopes to address. Though voting is strongly encouraged, voting when uninformed may result in bringing a candidate to the table that doesn’t serve the public’s best interests.

Voter ignorance can easily be addressed, either through personal research into each candidate or through educational programs in schools. The attacks against opposing candidates, the news media that clearly lean towards one candidate, and the overall sensation of apathy present in society all serve to sway the general public, but it’s important for us as individuals to stay loyal to our beliefs and not succumb to negative outside influences.

Then there’s the percentage of people who are eligible voters but decide not to vote on Election Day. These people cite reasons such as not having time to vote or the polling place being too far away, but most importantly, many people state that they simply do not care.

This is an issue.

Many people complain when their concerns are not addressed in government, but if they don’t vote, that problem falls on them. We can only hold ourselves to blame. The amount of attention a country pours into its political system is reflected in the candidates that eventually take the podium.

Without the general public engaging in voting and thus making its voice heard in government, we lose the values of democracy. We need to realize that we can make a difference, and that we have a say in how we are governed. Every vote matters. One vote may be the difference between victory and defeat and may spell the difference between a life of fairness and equality and a life of tyranny and disorder. This is our responsibility.