Ebola, ISIS, economy, oh my!

With everything you see on the news lately, there is one message reporters are failing to

mention — why it is so important to vote. It’s not as an exciting topic as Ebola, or ISIS, which

brings a sense of drama to our ordinary, everyday lives. Voting is boring, no one cares, my vote

doesn’t count, are some of the excuses for lack of people voting. Perhaps attention needs to be

brought as to why voting is so important.

This nation, which was founded in 1776, did not allow for everyone to vote at its

inception. Originally, only white, male, landowners were allowed to vote. It was not until 1870,

that all male citizens, “regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” That leaves

out women, who were finally given the right to vote in 1920.

It was not until 1964 that the poll tax was removed from elections, and in 1965 the

Voting Rights Acts were passed. Finally In 1971, every citizen, over the age of 18 was granted

the right to vote.

Everyone thinks that since all of those changes were made, they now have the right to

vote, but that is not the case. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 had certain provisions in place

to protect citizens’ right to vote. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a crucial

portion of the Act, which made certain states request permission from the federal government, in

order to make any changes to elections.

Why is that so important? Because that portion was eliminated, states that were formerly

prohibited from making last minute changes, are now doing so, in many states. In North

Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Arkansas, voters are trying to keep track of the changes happening,

and Supreme Court decisions that may apply to them. Right now, while some states were

already supposed to begin early voting, they are still waiting for a decision.

Voting affects every area of your life. As a student, representatives on every level affect

education, from funding to curricula. As a citizen, voting affects the environment, health care,

taxes, food, housing standards, natural disaster relief, and the list goes on. But most importantly,

voting affects who is going to represent you, on all levels of government.

Why is it important to know who represents you, and how they vote on legislation?

Because, as Congress continues to dig their heels in, and do reach across the aisle, it is you who

suffers. Imagine you went to work and did nothing, but take vacations. Would you keep your

job? No, and neither should our representatives. Check on what your representatives have done,

and vote, based on their work. Keep them or give them the pink slip.

This midterm election, we are also voting for Governor. Currently, as a Florida resident,

you already need to be registered to vote, and you must have a voter ID card along with a

government issued ID card with matching names in order to vote. Early voting hours have been

cut. What are you going to do about it? Vote.