The opportunity and privilege to vote is something that was fought for by many people who went before us. This privilege allows the general public to have a say in the future of their political leaders. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, more than 42 percent of Americans chose not to vote in the 2012 election. Of the total voting population in the United States, more than 66 percent are not registered to vote. This is a shocking number of Americans that choose not to exercise their right to vote.

Voting is important for everyone to participate in because it reserves our right to have a say in who our future leaders become. This privilege is often overlooked because not all Americans, especially young students, have witnessed a time where people were denied the right to vote.

Even though I strive to emphasize the importance of voting now, it was not too long ago when I didn’t vote or pay any attention to voting. My perception was that my small vote was not going to make a difference in the world. Even when I turned 18, I neglected to register and participate in any elections. 

It wasn’t until recently, when I watched the movie Suffragette that the importance of voting dawned on me. The movie Suffragette tells the story of women who were willing to give up everything for their right to equality in early 20th century Britain. The cast features Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep. After watching this movie, it opened my eyes to how many women fought for my opportunity to have a voice in the government. Although the movie was centered in Great Britain, the powerful story left a strong message with me.

According to Zen College Life, there are seven primary reasons why Americans choose not to vote. The reasons include thinking their vote won’t count, being too busy, registration requirements, apathy, lines being too long, not liking the candidates and not being able to get to the polls. Although some of these reasons may be true, none of them justify opting out of voting altogether. Those who have gone before us fought for us to have these privileges and to ignore them seems ignorant.

With the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election, our input in the future of our government is of the utmost importance. The primaries, debates and race have begun. Whether you are a fan of the current candidates in the presidential election or not, make sure you exercise your right to vote. One vote does make a difference because your voice will be heard. 

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