Why you should vote at 18

Staff Editorial

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As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.” This statement is true for everyone, even those of us who are in high school. As a democracy, our nation is built upon the notion that all citizens have a say in the people and policies that govern them, and who better to comment on this institution than the youth of America? Voting as soon as you turn 18 is important if you want to have a say in what your future looks like. When we say your future, we mean the taxes you pay, the schools your children attend, and the paid vacation time you receive throughout your career. Whoever you vote for will influence you throughout your entire life. The current president is going to have a lot of influence on the following election. 

The most common reason 18 year olds don’t vote can be summed up as a lack of interest or knowledge, whether that be knowledge of the candidates, or knowledge of how to register. More importantly, however, some people feel as though their vote doesn’t matter. Conveying to young voters that what they put on the ballot is important will increase voter turnout.

According to a research paper by researcher Eric Plutzer titled “Becoming a Habitual Voter: Inertia, Resources, and Growth in Young Adulthood,” voting is a habitual behavior, which means doing so as soon as you are eligible makes you more likely to continue voting every year after that. Those who do not vote in the first election they are able to will take much longer to adopt the habit. Additionally, you’ll be more enthusiastic in the years to come if you participate in this American tradition firsthand. Also, if you vote right when you’re able to, you can take advantage of the power you have to voice your opinion at an early age. Being politically active doesn’t have to stop right at voting. You can be an activist in all aspects of life.

Historically, young people have been significant figures in almost all forms of political activism, proving to be a driving force during the civil rights and women’s movements. Such political passion should present itself throughout our generation in the form of civic participation. We can change politics and alter the future of the U.S. government through the polls.