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Low Voter Turnout a Problem for Our Democracy

Alexandra Leonardi, Staff Writer

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Voting is an important right in our society. By voting, your voice and opinions are heard. With this right we are able to choose an individual or individuals to hold the public offices. Elections are essential for democracy.

Unfortunately, one-third fewer U.S. voters show up to the polls during a midterm election than a presidential election. In our country voting is a privilege, but it is something that should not be put off to the side just because it is not mandatory. In contrast, 22 nations around the world make voting mandatory for its citizens, often starting at age 18. Failure to vote can result in a $20 fine or more depending on the elections.
I know many of you can’t vote yet, but eventually you will have the right and privilege to vote, and hopefully most of you will exercise this right. Some of us, however, will get lazy or won’t have time in our busy schedules. Hopefully we will come to a realization that we need to find time in our schedule for voting and making our voices heard.

My opinion on this subject is that voting is very important and a right that we should exercise often. I think that voting is important because it is a way that you can be part of your future. I can’t wait to be able to exercise this right, and be able to have a say in the people that will affect my future.

How important is voting to Weedsport? I asked some Weedsport students as well as Miss Leonardi:

Q: Do you think it is important to vote? If so why?
Miss Leonardi: “I think it’s extremely important to vote. In a democracy we have the opportunity, responsibility and duty to vote. Our leaders are elected by the people. Men and women have fought and died to give us the right to vote and one of the best ways to honor them is to simply vote.”
Allison Weston: “Yes, I think it is important to vote because I believe we need a leader, that we trust, and we the people should let the government know our opinions.”
Erin Grady: “Yes, I do think it is important to vote because that way we can have a say in our government not just have one person decided that for us.”
Elise Dates: “Yes, voting is important because if you don’t vote and you can then you can’t complain about the results, if it’s not the person you wanted.”
Jenna Strong: “Yes, voting is important because we need to be in charge of our future.”

Q: What is the historical importance of voting?
Miss Leonardi: “Since the beginning of mankind, everyone, everywhere was essentially ruled by a king, or dictator – we were the first country in the world to bring democracy to a nation. It was an incredibly brave thing to do. We have inspired countries all over the world to give the power to rule to average, everyday citizens. We have helped to bring a new way of life to people everywhere. All that is required is for a citizen to take the time and effort to cast a ballot – such a small price to pay for such an amazing opportunity.”

Q: In other countries around the world, people are fined if they do not vote. Do you think that we here in America should start following the same policies?
Miss Leonardi: “Absolutely not! Freedom is what makes this country such a wonderful, special place to live. Citizens have the right and the responsibility to vote, but they also have the choice not to exercise that right. Government should not legislate our freedoms. There’s an old adage “in a democracy we get the government we deserve”. For better or for worse, in a democracy citizens make decisions and then we live with the consequences.”
Elise Dates: “No, because it is a right.”
Erin Grady: “No, it shouldn’t be mandatory to vote.”

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The student news site of Weedsport CSD
Low Voter Turnout a Problem for Our Democracy