Americans must take advantage of voting privilege to ensure change

The most common excuse for not voting in elections is simply “I’m not very political.” That statement alone reeks of privilege. To be able to look past everything that is wrong with this country is privilege. 

Using that privilege is essential to making a statement when it comes to politics. For example, white feminists, although involved with politics, concern themselves with areas that do not affect all women. Instead of focusing their efforts to stopping forced female sterilization in United States prisons, they worry themselves with frivolous movements like “Free the Nipple.” 

White feminists are in a position of power in comparison to marginalized women, so in order to become allies and create a difference, they should use their power to include and fight for women of color, not alienate them. 

Using one’s privilege is essential to creating a difference, especially with President Donald Trump continually insisting on marginalizing minorities in the U.S. The mass incarceration of black men or the Black Lives Matter movement does not affect a large portion of voters, but that does not mean that they should not vote for candidates that make a difference. 

Others excuse their actions by mistakenly arguing that their votes do not count, but that is far from the truth. Voting makes a big difference, especially in close elections. Similarly, voting third party takes away valuable votes from candidates that have the chance to win. That is not to say that voting third party is necessarily wrong; it simply shows that voting makes a difference.

Some third parties recognize that they can shift the election and they exploit that. The Republican party actually paid one Green Party candidate, Timothy Adams, according to the Associated Press. 

Clearly, Republicans have taken advantage of the Green Party. They know that the Green Party, for the most part, takes away votes from the Democratic Party. A more conservative third party like the Libertarian Party can take away from Republican votes.

Beyond voting for a third party, some disenchanted voters may cast a “protest” ballot. These protest voters may leave their ballot blank or intentionally write in a fake candidate, but this does not do anything. Protest voting is a waste of one’s democratic responsibility. 

Millions of non-citizens living in the U.S. lack the right to vote and millions of citizens are discouraged from voting through unethical tactics. Voter suppression is an ongoing tactic that makes voting increasingly difficult for many people. It can range from making voting less convenient to intimidating voters. 

For example, many states ban felons from voting, according to NPR. In 2016 alone, four percent of registered voters could not vote because of registration problems. Another two percent cited problems with polling hours and locations. 

For people who work multiple jobs, voting during the allotted hours on Election Day is simply not feasible. The limited hours discourage people from voting. 

Casting away one’s right to vote blatantly shows a lack of responsibility to other people, especially those who do not have the privilege to vote. There is no excuse good enough to not engage in politics. Refusing to vote shows complicity with the current state of affairs in the U.S.