Why it’s important to vote in 2020

WSS staffer Katherine Shoppa ’23 explains the importance of voting in 2020.

Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, reproductive rights, climate change. All are issues that have been brought to the forefront recently and consume the news from all different angles. As the world continues changing at a rapid pace, we’ve seen how governments on all different scales have responded to these matters in real time, making it more important than ever to use your voice. The 2020 presidential election as well as Senate elections and House of Representatives elections are approaching rapidly, all of which present a chance for new voices to be heard through voting.

In 2016, 100 million people who were eligible to vote, didn’t.”

— Knight Foundation

According to an article by the Knight Foundation, published in February of 2020, in 2016, 100 million people who were eligible to vote, didn’t. While some nonvoters can’t vote because of states holding closed primaries, requiring identification, or illegalizing felons from voting, others who are fully eligible do not vote because their states don’t allow early voting, have separate registration, or they feel their vote doesn’t matter.

In some cases in history, we’ve seen times where even a couple votes make all the difference. In 2001, Al Gore lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush, but the election came down to a recount in Florida, where Bush had barely won the popular vote. It triggered an automatic recount and according to National Geographic, Bush won Florida by 0.009% of votes cast in the state, or 537 votes. If 600 more people had voted for Al Gore in Florida, there could’ve been a completely different president from 2000-2008. 

Even if one vote alone doesn’t elect the president, if a vote joins several others in a voting district, it undoubtedly matters. The amount of voters in important districts especially in “swing states,” or states that could be won by either party, can completely change the projected turnout of elections.

While voting in any election over the years can always have major effects on the future of a country, it matters more than ever in 2020. Recently the world has suffered through a pandemic that is nowhere near over in the United States and many new movements have been brought to light. We’ve seen how the pandemic and current responses to it have affected businesses, minorities, healthcare workers, and the everyday lives of people in our country. This has made voting in elections extremely important as more people are being affected and need a leader that will make the best policies and provide the right help for them. By finding and voting for a candidate who is the best for an individual and their community, the lives of so many people could be positively impacted.

Among the pandemic, we’ve seen how governments have reacted to many movements such as Black Lives Matter. The movement coming to light recently has shown how current government officials on many different levels have responded to protests, demands for changes, and police brutality. We’ve seen how leadership greatly impacts the lives of so many black citizens and the funding of the police. It’s highlighted the importance of voting for candidates citizens feel will respond best to these issues and make beneficial changes that will greatly impact the lives of black people in the country.

Along with the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve seen how governments have handled reproductive rights issues. Several states have placed bans on abortions and restrictions on family planning as well as the federal government expanding the Global Gag Rule, which stops nongovernmental organizations who receive U.S health assistance from providing abortions. This demonstrates how leadership greatly impacts the reproductive rights of American women, stressing the importance in finding a candidate who will make changes for what an individual believes in and who will positively impact the lives of women. 

In recent years, we’ve seen how addressing climate change has differed. In 2017, President Trump pulled the United States from the Paris Agreement, an agreement in the United Nations that deals with greenhouse gas emissions and finances. The leadership in our nation has so much power to impact the lives and futures of not just Americans, but the entire world. It makes it increasingly  important to have leaders that pay strong attention to issues that matter most to communities in the country.

Voting is a privilege that so many Americans have fought for and now in a time of so many important movements, it’s more vital than ever to get out there and vote for people that represent your beliefs and ideas.”

— Katherine Shoppa '23

With all these issues becoming so much more prominent in the past years, it’s important to vote now while there are so many chances for change. Voting is an opportunity for individual’s voices to be heard and to take a stand for the issues that are important to them. Voting is a privilege that so many Americans have fought for and now in a time of so many important movements, it’s more vital than ever to get out there and vote for people that represent your beliefs and ideas. Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a power to speak up for you and so many people.