Make your voice count: Vote today

When thinking about voting, one often thinks about the candidates for presidency. People watch and analyze the debates, read the latest news about the campaign, and put posters on their lawn or bumper stickers in their cars.

Yet, as important as the national election is, one must educate themselves about the local candidates as well. As citizens of Minnesota and of this particular district, we can vote for who is going to speak for us in the House of Representatives and the Senate. This gives our local area a say in the national government, so it is important that one is well informed of local, as well as national, issues before voting.

Voting for our leaders is a privilege given to us as citizens of America. Not every country has this right, and must fight in rebellion or flee from their dictator. Everyone complains about the person in the White House, but let us not forget that our publicity of, support for, and vote for this candidate is what brought him (or her) to the presidency.

Another great privilege, however, is our right as Americans to petition the government. This means that we are allowed to complain about politicians or protest legislation we think is unjust. We can write letters to our representatives or senators addressing issues of which we believe should be taken action. Not only can we be involved politically in casting our ballot, but by informing those in office or those running for office as to what is important to us.

Voting is a chance for us to make our voices heard in our government. It is a chance for us to say, “Hey! These are the kind of policies that I want!” or “These are the morals and values that I stand for!” It gives the power to the people. We have a say in our government, not only for our president, but also other people who represent our voice in the legislative branch.

Many people throughout history have fought for our right to vote. According to history.com, African Americans didn’t have the right to vote until 1870, and even then, legal barriers prevented them from voting until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Women did not have the right to vote until 96 years ago, in 1920. Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of Civil Rights movements, every citizen of America 18 years or older has the right to vote. It is important to exercise that right and to remember the people who fought for those rights.

We must also remember that we must not vote for a candidate based solely on the bad things they say about their opponent. When you vote for a person, you are voting for their values, their perspective, and their goals. Make sure that you stand for those values and agree with their point of view before casting your vote. It is important to look at every issue and how those issues will affect you, your family, and the country as a whole.

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