A common question that pops up in many minds whenever election day approaches is, “does my vote matter?” and whether it impacts the results. With such turbulent political times, it is easy for youth to feel that their votes do not matter in the long run. They think the outcome would be the same regardless of whether they had voted or not. Especially in states which are either entirely black or white, it seems as if your single vote is drowned out by a sea that is either for or against you.

In today’s busy, fast-paced world, it can be tiresome to search for the nearest polling place and make time to vote. If you are looking to go before work, you will have to wake up much earlier, and if you wish to go after work, you will inevitably be tired and late for dinner. Standing in line in unpleasant weather at a crowded place does not seem like an ideal way to spend your day after all. However, casting our vote is worth all the effort, even if your state is overwhelmingly set in one political stance.

One of the main reasons we should vote is that it is a hard-earned human right. The voting system has been used for centuries, with the first recorded popular public officials’ election dating back to the Spartan Constitution in 754 BC. In the initial years of voting history, only men were granted the right to vote while women had to fight to earn theirs. During the early 20th century, the women’s suffrage movement fought for the right of women to vote in both local and national elections across the world. Susan B. Anthony, a famous American women’s rights activist who took part in the internationally recognized movement, has rightfully said:

“Someone struggled for your vote. Use it.”

It is a right that was expensive to obtain, and we must honor it by voting and encouraging others to do so as well.

Another reason voting is crucial is that it is our responsibility as a citizen. It is easy to complain about everything wrong with our government and their decision-making, but we can actively participate in the election and make a change through voting. Although the ability to vote is considered a right or privilege of citizenship, it is also a citizen’s duty. Through polls, we can have a say in the making of their government and help maintain the democratic representative system of our government.

Voting empowers you to help make a difference in your surroundings. When we vote, we take the opportunity we are given to improve and positively influence the place in which we reside. The problems people might have regarding healthcare services, employment opportunities, living standards, education, immigration, and so on can be directly addressed if we speak up. The electorate chooses political figures; hence they are our representatives. When we abstain from voting, we leave them to their own devices, shifting the focus from general welfare to personal gain.

Another aspect to consider is that it causes unnecessary death and suffering when we don’t vote. Voting is a method by which large groups of people make a collective decision or express a singular opinion. We need to speak up to abolish old unjust, racist, and casteist systems that perpetuate violence and inequality. Our votes are crucial to transform and improve these systems to benefit society and future generations.

Elections are the backbone of democracy, and they provide a platform for people to voice their opinions and concerns and choose suitable representatives. The very nature of a democracy is that elected officials are held accountable to people, and they must seek voters’ mandate at regular intervals to continue in office. You can voice any resentment we may have towards the current ruling party through voting. By voting for a different party that appeals to you, you are helping elect another government which demonstrates that citizens hold the ultimate authority.

Read another essay Benjamin Franklin

Abstention is a term for when a person either does not vote on election day or is present during the vote but does not cast a ballot. In countries like Belgium and Australia, they have administered compulsory voting. If people fail to vote in at least four elections, they can lose the right to vote for ten years. Along with this, non-voters might also have difficulty obtaining jobs in the public sector—further denoting the importance of voting.

To summarise, the “my vote doesn’t matter” belief is an increasingly contagious and dangerous belief to have since it directly affects the welfare of our society and country. The importance of voting cannot be accentuated enough as it is the crucial link that connects citizen participation and democratic values. I believe that each citizen who has come of age should stay updated on the political affairs of their country and vote for the option that represents them better.