Editorial: Every vote counts; Young voters can have more impact than they think

Herald Editorial Board

Issue: Voting is something many Americans take for granted because they think one vote isn’t big enough to matter.

Stance: Every Kentuckian should understand their responsibility to vote and go to the polls in November.

Voting turnout is consistently low, proving many Americans of voting age take the right for granted.

In the 2015 general gubernatorial election, 30.6% of eligible Kentucky voters showed up to the polls to cast their ballot, according to the State Board of Elections’ report. In the 2016 presidential election, nearly 56% of the United States voting age population voted.

American patriotism is often coupled with the ideas of democracy and freedom, which includes the right to vote, but Americans consistently ignore this right. They don’t live up to what they portray their values to be.

“Every vote counts” is the mantra of many when elections roll around, and it’s true. Just last year, Kentucky House Representative Jim Glenn won his election by a single vote.

Deciding not to vote because you think one vote doesn’t matter is the by-stander effect: everyone thinks somebody else will take care of the problem, so the problem is never solved. It’s a mentality that prevents progress or change.

This is especially important for state and local elections, since these have both a smaller amount of potential voters and turnout percentage, which makes the margin of victory much closer. Presidential elections consistently have the largest election turn-outs per state because of the broad scope of impact it carries, but there is a significant dip in state and local elections that could have a much more direct impact on those voting in them.

While no age demographic has a perfect voting record, younger people are usually outvoted by older generations. It is counterintuitive for people to be making decisions for those who have a longer time to deal with the consequences of an election.

Older generations generally understand the importance of elections because they have been around to see what it’s like when one doesn’t go their way. Young people should have awareness of the ramifications that could come with each election instead of waiting for the outcome to not go their way before getting inspired to vote.

Even if your vote doesn’t end up being the popular one, it still allows your voice to be heard. A candidate who does well in the polls despite losing will show their party which values their constituents truly care about, whether it’s health care, gun control or tax reform.

Voting is a right and a responsibility, and there is enough time to be- come informed about each candidate to make an educated decision. Find your precinct location and do your part in shaping where you think the future should go.