Opinion — Exercise your right to vote

Erica Wheeler, Plainsmen Post Staff

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Voting is a democratic right that is granted to everyone in the United States; although, according to the US Census Bureau, as of August only 69.1 percent of eligible males are registered to vote, and 72.8 percent of eligible females are registered.  With probably one of the most critical elections yet, exercising your right to vote has never been more crucial. Only about 58.5 percent of voters age 28-25 are even registered to vote, according to the Census Bureau. You have to be registered to vote to participate in the voting process. In Texas the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11. Your application must be received in the Voter Registrar’s office or postmarked at least 30 days before an election for you to be eligible to vote in that election.

Many people — especially during this election — do not want to vote because they do not agree with the major political parties stances on some topics. Another reason many people do not vote is because they feel that their vote doesn’t matter, or count. But your vote does matter. Every state has electors who are for the most part — depending on the state — supposed to vote in favor of the popular opinion. If more people voted their opinion, they can sway the popular opinion rather staying inside on Election Day. You know what they say “if you don’t vote, don’t complain about it”.

One issue with voting is that many people vote in favor of one candidate in fear of the other and vice versa. Many people view a third party vote as wasted vote. If more people voted for who stands more on the issues that they believe in, we as Americans would not be limited to the two major parties. Some politicians will try and convince you that a third party vote will only result in a vote for the other candidate. With the revolutionary candidate Bernie Sanders that shook up the political system as well as the craziness of the 2016 election, more and more people are looking to third-party candidates as a viable option to the republican and democratic nominee.

Aside from Donald Trump’s extreme right-wing politics and Hilary Clinton’s extreme left-wing politics, there are also the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, as well as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, have both been surging in the polls compared to decades past third-party candidates due to the nature of this year’s election. Many people will tell you that you have an obligation to vote for the lesser of two evils for the greater good of the country. Although if you feel this way and would rather cast your vote for a lesser of two evils scenario go for it, more power to you for voting! For those of us who would rather vote our consciousness and vote according to who stands for the issues there are always other options to the major party candidates.

Another thing that many people overlook is voting for representatives and senators. During the 2016 election a total of 469 seats are up for re-election (34 senate and 435 house). If you want to see change vote for those who stand for the things you believe in. Do your research, be involved in the political process and learn about the government. If you sit passive and never take action, what right do you have to complain? Be active in your community, write to your state representatives about the issues, and never vote out fear! Always vote your conscious.

If you would like to register to vote below is a link to register in Texas, if you have any questions or need help always feel free to ask me, I would be more than glad to help!

http://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/register-to-vote/

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Opinion — Exercise your right to vote