Voting in America: You Can Make a Difference

Vote AmericaWith election day quickly closing in, there is one question that is racing through everyone’s mind: Who will win the presidential race?  Will we continue to see red, or will there be a blue wave across America?

If a person took a look at social media, they would surmise that Americans must be active in their election process, but according to recent data from the United States Census, voter turnout in the U.S. is currently among the lowest in the entire developed world.  In the last presidential election, only 53 percent of Americans voted. There currently more than 240 million voting-aged Americans, yet more than half of those 240 million do not exercise their right to vote. The question that everyone is asking: Why?

Following the last presidential election, people were asked why they chose not to vote. 59 percent of non-voting Americans believed that there was no reason for them to cast their vote because “nothing ever gets done” or “my vote will not make a difference.” 54 percent of those who were polled justified not voting because they believe the U.S. Government is “so corrupt,” and 37 percent believe that voting “doesn’t make a difference in my life.”

This is not just a problem, it is a huge problem. We are talking about half of the eligible voting-age population choosing not to vote, even they literally have the ability to determine who will run our nation. It is time for a change.

How the Presidential Election Works:

Vote AmericaUnfortunately, a lot of Americans have absolutely no idea how the presidential election works. Simply explained, there are 50 states in the United States. Each state is divided up into congressional districts that are based on the state’s population. The more people that live in a state, the more districts that state will have. California, for example, has a population of 38.8 million people and has 53 districts while the state of Kansas has a population of 2.9 million people and has only 5 districts. So, the bigger the population of a state, the more districts a state has. The more districts that a state has, the more influence that state has in the election.

This influence is represented by the state’s elector’s, more formally known as the Electoral College. The number of electors a state has is determined by its number of districts plus the two U.S. senators of that state. So, California has 55 electors (53 districts plus 2 senators) while Kansas has 6 electors (4 districts plus 2 senators). When a candidate wins the voting in a state, they win that state’s electors, which is why large more populated states are so important to presidential candidates. If you add up the electors in all of the states and the District of Columbia, you get 538 electors. In order to win the presidency, a candidate must win 270 electors. And this all happens with your vote.

My Vote Will Not Count:

Look, the truth is, the biggest reason that Americans choose not to vote comes down to the fact that they feel powerless. They feel that it does not matter what they do, the power players in the U.S. will do what they want and there is nothing that they could do to stop them. This could not be farther from the truth. The fact is, your vote does matter, a lot. Yes, it is true that the Electoral College elects the president, but you must not ever forget that we, the American people decide who the Electoral College must support.  For example, if you live in the state of California and the majority of the people in your state choose to vote forSenator Bernie Sanders, then Bernie would win California’s 55 electoral votes. That’s over 20 percent of the electoral votes Bernie would need to win the next presidential election. That’s it. Its that simple, and it all started with your vote.

Vote America

What’s the Point of Voting? My State Always Swings Republican or Democrat:

The second biggest reason that Americans choose not to vote comes down to the belief that their state will inevitably support a specific party. If I am a Democrat, why should I bother to vote when I know my state will definitely support a Republican? In the 40 non-swing states, this is a common question. However, you must understand this: A state only swings to one party, because of the majority of the people who voted support that specific party. This “inevitableness” can definitely be counted by your vote. For example, in states that historically swing conservative, like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, and West Virginia, less than 50 percent of the voting population voted in the last presidential election. This means that the over 50 percent that choose not to vote could have definitely overpowered the conservative vote and awarded the state’s electoral votes to the opposite party. That’s 70 electoral votes right there, over 25 percent of the votes needed by a candidate to win the presidency. And that’s all done by  your vote.

Why Should I Vote? It will Not Affect Me:

There seems to be a sense of apathy toward politics and voting among Americans and that is a big reason that they do not choose to vote. The fact of the matter is: Wheather or not you like it, every single aspect of your life is affected by politics and every single one of those politicians were put into power through popular vote.

Even if you think that the government is too corrupt, how does choosing not to vote and doing nothing change anything? You don’t like your politicians? Okay, you can use your vote in the next election to make sure those politicians do not win re-election. You don’t like how your politicians never get anything done? Okay, you can use your vote in the next election to elect politicians who will get things done.

Vote AmericaI Am a Minority, My Vote Doesn’t Matter:

Candidates know who votes (“their voters”), and they shape their policies based on voter turnout demographics. Before you ask why candidates like Donald Trump can get away with making hateful statements and policies against Hispanics, tell me why less than half of eligible Hispanics vote. Before you ask why politicians seem to not care much about #BlackLivesMatter, tell me why non-whites make up only 26 percent of all voters.

Never let the term “minority” make you think the vote of your ethnic group is insignificant. It is rather, your most powerful political tool. For example, take a look at Muslim voters. Muslim Americans make up less than one percent of the U.S. population, but experts say they could play a very significant role in presidential elections due to their concentration in key states like Florida where Bush won by just 537 votes in 2000. The minority vote is incredibly powerful, never doubt that for a second. Find the candidate you believe best supports the interests of your demographic and encourage all those in your communities to support them. You’d be amazed by the difference this will make.

Your Vote Matter!

Your vote matters. It really does. You can look at the fact that millions of Americans died so that you can live in a nation of democracy and freedom, but this is not about giving you a history lesson. This is about reminding you that your vote, is in fact, your voice, that your vote is your tool of political empowerment and that change in this nation can best be brought about through your vote. There is a chance for you to implement real change that you want to see in our nation coming up. All you have to do is VOTE.

Jones Brown Law

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