Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Future.
The following blog post was contributed by Aneeqah, one of our talented interns. While she isn’t old enough to vote in the 2020 election, she is keenly aware of it’s significance, and encourages everyone who is eligible to exercise their right to vote.
The right to vote has long been a widely contested issue in the history of the United States. For many years, only white men who owned property could vote. Even when the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870, which allowed all citizens to vote regardless of race, people of color were often excluded from the polls due to suppression efforts like poll taxes and literacy tests. Women would not get the right to vote until 1920, and it was only with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that racial discrimination in voting was outlawed.
Today, most citizens of the United States who are over 18 are entitled to the right to vote. However, in the 2016 presidential election, only 58% of eligible voters cast a ballot. There are a lot of reasons people don’t vote–a big one being that many think that their vote doesn’t matter. While it’s true that the electoral college does ultimately decide the outcome of the presidential race, in most states electoral votes are actually cast based on the state’s popular vote. In addition, voting for your House and Senate representatives as well as local government officials is just as important as voting for the president. Voting is one of the best ways to make your voice heard. By educating yourself on all the different platforms and policies, you can help elect officials who you think will make the best impact in your town, state, or the whole country.
The 2020 presidential election will take place on November 3, with the option to cast your vote by mail or in person (in some states). Everyone in the state of New Jersey who is eligible and registered to vote received a mail-in ballot, and there’s still time to drop it off. Research the nearest ballot drop box, educate yourself on the candidates and issues being decided, and help make a difference in our country with just a piece of paper.