Voting is not only our right; it is our power. The right to vote energizes social and cultural awareness for political parties. It is an opportunity for citizens to have a voice in who should lead our cities, counties, states, governments and country. Voting is crucial to activating democratic and republic processes.

It is the basic process that keeps a nation’s governmental system working. Each induvial party that is competing in any election announces and establishes various benefits and social reforms for their people.

The purpose of every government is to develop and implement diverse policies for the benefits of its citizens.

It enables the citizens who have questions and concerns for the government to be answered and resolved.

Having the right to vote was not always a privilege. For example, women and African Americans were not able to vote because of their gender and race. Once the 15th Amendment was ratified, citizens of the United States would not be denied the right to vote by the United States or any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

This amendment was a major turning point for American citizens because it was an opportunity for our voices to finally be heard. However, there are many people who believe that their vote does not matter.

Since I am an African American woman, I hear all the time how our vote as black people does not count, nor does it matter and that it is just a waste of time because nothing will come from it. How can that be if we have not taken the initiative to vote? You cannot say what will or will not happen if you have not done your part. There are many people who are registered to vote and still do not exercise their right.

When I turned 18, I did not hesitate to register to vote because I knew at one point in time my ancestors were not able to vote. I knew that my vote would be important to future elections and I would not let the opportunity pass me by nor go to waste.

The Circle, which is the center for information and research on civic learning and engagement breaks down the percentages about the previous presidential elections. The article states, “As of this writing (noon on November 9, 2016), an estimated 23.7 million young voters participated in the 2016 presidential election, which is 50% of citizens aged 18-29 in the United States.”

Although 23.7 million young voters participated, 50% is only half. Think about if it turned out to be 80% or 100% who participated and the difference it would have made at the end of the election. Many young people are impressionable and easily persuaded.

A lot of the times, they go off another person’s actions and feelings towards a situation. For example, if all my friends are not going to class that can discourage me from going to class, but instead I should not conform to their decisions and continue to have a mind of my own.

As a result, by doing the right thing, they may want to participate as well because by me doing the right thing only good things can come from it.

As we are soon to be approaching a new year, a new election is on the rise. The Race to the White House 2020 includes popular candidates, such as Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders.

These three men are possibly going to be the most popular candidates in the upcoming election.

Buttigieg, if he secures the nomination, could be the first openly LGBTQ candidate in U.S. history.

It could be a monumental moment or a complete disaster.

Due to him being the first openly LGBT candidate, there will be people who disagree with him being elected.

Because of this many people will choose not to vote at all; however, that will only increase Buttigieg’s chances of winning the election.

The resources are endless for citizens to vote. Churches, schools, banquet halls and much more set aside days where citizens can come by and vote.

Here at Austin Peay, we are provided with transportation to go vote and it is important that we take advantage of this resource.

In addition, it is important that we encourage one another to go vote because if we all participate there is a great change that will come from it. Remember, voting chooses the leaders of tomorrow. Do not let you right and privilege go to waste. Let your voice be heard.