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By ALEXIS WILEY | Special to the Herald Times
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rangely High School senior Alexis Wiley wrote the winning essay for the Rangely VFW’s annual Voice of Democracy scholarship contest. This year’s theme was “Why My Vote Matters.” For all of you with a ballot still sitting on your table, or who haven’t registered and will need to do so on or before election day, please read her essay and follow her example.
RANGELY | My vote matters. It matters because it affects my nation and how we as a country’s people will inevitably have to work together to achieve a common pursuit.
It matters because, without my vote, one person may or may not win a political race in my state. It matters because my hometown may receive the benefits or consequences of political actions or decisions that may take place if my vote is accounted for or not accounted for. My voice matters and no one can take that away from me.
My vote matters. Each and every American has a responsibility to vote. The opportunity to be able to vote and take part in having an input and voice in the nation’s actions is such a blessing. Many people in hundreds of countries all around the world would give up anything to be able to be heard. We as Americans should take advantage of this privilege and vote because our votes make an impact. Our votes matter. My vote makes an impact. My voice matters.
My vote matters. Even if others believe that a single vote won’t make a difference in an election, it will. Mayrene Bates, an administrator of the Solano County Board of Education, gave numerous examples of single votes making an impact and difference in the United States of America. In the Daily Republic, she writes, “Thomas Jefferson was elected president by one vote in the Electoral College. So was John Quincy Adams. Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president by one vote. His election was contested, and referred to an electoral commission where the matter was again decided by one vote. The man who cast the deciding vote for President Hayes was himself elected to Congress by a margin of one vote.” Analyzing Mayrene Bates’ text, we can comprehend and realize that a single vote has made a difference in the history of the United States of America on many separate occasions. Therefore, why wouldn’t the votes of American citizens like you or I matter? Not only do we have the freedom to vote, but we have the responsibility to vote. One vote can and will change the United States of America. My voice matters.
My vote matters, and so does my voice. It is heard, even if not by ear. People around me see how I act every day—how I behave, how I speak, how I respond. Others around me subconsciously pay attention to me and my behaviors. I can and will affect these peers in either a good or bad way. I influence others. My ideas are shared with others, even if I do not tell them directly. I hope for my voice and opinion to be heard and accepted by my acquaintances, but if not I can and will remember that my voice matters and makes a difference in our nation. I can achieve great things. Not only can my vote affect the United States of America, but so can my actions. My voice matters.
My vote matters. It is counted. On PBS.org, Michael D. Regan wrote that only a bit more than 58 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2016 presidential election. If around 58 percent of eligible voters only took out the time to vote, that means there was about 42 percent of eligible voters that did not pick up the opportunity to have a voice. With a percentage as high as that, perhaps people do not recognize the amazing circumstance that had been placed right in front of them or maybe they did not realize that their votes would make a difference in the American nation, but they missed out on a great chance to share their ideals and beliefs. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity to purposely engage my thoughts and actions through the voting process. I will vote. I will share my voice. I will have a say in the future of the United States of America. My vote matters.