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Why vote?

 Mercy seniors used official voting booths and ballots in our very own mock elections. These voting booths act as a portal into the world of democracy. Get out and vote. (Photo Credit: Sophie Sawicki)

Mercy seniors used official voting booths and ballots in our very own mock elections. These voting booths act as a portal into the world of democracy. Get out and vote. (Photo Credit: Sophie Sawicki)

Brooklyn Rue, Editor-in-Chief

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Mercy girls lined up in the lobby to vote in our presidential mock election on Oct. 11. Many seniors even found themselves in real voting booths, filling in the bubbles on real ballots, and inserting the ballot into a real voting machine.

A little over half of all Mercy girls voted in this mock election, and, similarly, a little over half of U.S. citizens usually vote in the presidential elections. According to Fair Vote, in the 2012 presidential election in which Barack Obama ran against Mitt Romney, 58 percent of Americans made their way to the polls.

But why do these figures matter?

Right now, a little over half of the country’s eligible voting population is making decisions that affect the entirety of our nation. In a country that is founded on democracy and majority rule, some of our most profound decisions — such as who will be the commander-in-chief of our armed forces and which political party will be dominating Congress — are being made by a slight majority of the population.

It is even more uncommon to find citizens at the polls during general, or non presidential, elections. In the 2014 general elections, only 37 percent of eligible voters actually cast their ballots, according to the United States Elections Project.

General elections are arguably just as important as presidential elections because the issues on the ballot relate more directly to local citizens, and this is a chance for Americans to choose local representatives who share their immediate interests.

Still, what difference can one individual’s ballot make?

More than you might think. Understandably, many voters don’t want to vote for someone they think might lose. Even if voters find themselves voting for a candidate who is predicted to dominate the election, they make a difference because the margin by which a candidate wins is important. Though an individual’s vote will not typically change the outcome of the election, it will have some bearing on the margin by which the candidate loses or wins. This is important because if a candidate does not win by a sweeping majority, he or she is more likely to promote moderate policies in hopes of not jeopardizing his or her shot at re-election.

And if some citizens simply cannot force themselves to vote for either of the presidential candidates, a third party vote is not a vote wasted. According to The Huffington Post, voting for a third party candidate can help illustrate to presidential candidates that a number of voters have a significant interest in the third party for some reason, and can work to enact some of those policies once elected.

No matter one’s reasons for voting and no matter one’s political affiliation, each vote is important and an integral part of our democratic process. If you are a registered voter of age, make your way to the polls.

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Mercy High School ~ Farmington Hills, Michigan
Why vote?