Voting is a responsibility, not just a right

By Ana Faguy, News Editor

It is the first Tuesday of November; people line up inside schools, churches and community centers to cast their vote in the midterm election. Election day comes around every two years, and allows American citizens to play their role in democracy, but many CHS students and community members fail to realize that voting is more than just a right or a privilege; it is a duty.

As a democracy, U.S. citizens elect leaders to represent their views and opinions in government, but in recent midterm elections they are not fulfilling their roles. The common perception held among voters is that their vote does not matter because their one small opinion will not change the scope of the election. This neglect is the sole factor in the poor results of midterm elections. Citizens ignore their responsibilities and it needs to stop.

According to a June 2014 article by the Pew Research Center, a mere 37 percent of voters cast ballots in the 2010 midterm elections. Not having surpassed the 50 percent margin since 1908, midterm elections have almost always brought out a smaller number of voters.

This consistent trend should not dictate the future of midterm elections. If anything, the results of the 2014 midterm elections should reveal to voters that their votes do matter. Not enough Democrats voted, and as a result the party lost control of the Senate. Republicans showed up in larger numbers, and as a result they gained the gubernatorial majority, maintained the House majority and retained the Senate majority.

Pundits, advisors and even politicians themselves divide the political process year after year by demographic, but there is a larger issue at hand: people are not voting, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or party.

According to a Census Bureau analysis on the 2008 election, approximately 30 million eligible Americans are not registered to vote, and of those 30 million eligible non-registered voters, approximately 15.5 million did not register because they were not interested or refused.

In light of the results of the 2014 midterm elections, both parties need to recognize the importance of voting. Democrats need to learn a lesson: there is no “sure thing” in politics. Even the bluest or reddest of states should not be labeled as positive, as proven in the Maryland Governor’s race. Republicans need to recognize that voter turnout can truly make a difference, shown in multiple states where the Republican candidate was labeled as a non-contender.

If the 2014 midterms do not change opinions on elections, nothing will. Everyone needs to realize, and see, that every vote counts. No matter how red or blue your district or state is, stop taking your vote for granted. Voting should be viewed as a duty similar to filing taxes or filling out the census, not well loved but done because it is important in maintaining a democracy.

According to a July 2012 Huffington Post article, higher voter turnout in other developed countries such as Belgium and Australia can be attributed to strict laws that enforce voting, but these laws would not work well in the U.S. because of the sense of voting as a privilege.

The 2014 midterm elections are sure to change the American perspective towards voting, hopefully for the better. Our constitution hands us the duty to elect our leaders, but when this duty is ignored, democracy is put off-balance. Only those who view voting as a duty participate in government, and those who see it as a privilege fail to realize that they are ignoring their responsibility, allowing other citizens to make decisions for them.

Two years from now American citizens will once again be given the chance to voice their opinion on the work government is doing. CHS and community go out and vote. Let your voice be heard. After all you, never know what could happen. Your vote could make all the difference.