What wish will you make in this election?
In the 2016 election, over 110 million Americans who were eligible to vote did not. To be more precise, 110,178,918, people over the age of eighteen sat out a race that was decided by less than 80,000 votes.
To put that in further perspective, it is the equivalent of the entire eligible voting populations of the United Kingdom, France AND Belgium deciding not to vote in their respective elections.
As a percentage of our population only 56% percent of Americans cast their ballots in 2016, compared to almost 90% of the citizens of Belgium.
It is lamentable but understandable why people don’t vote.
Some may be frustrated by a system that doesn’t seem to work for them or insulated by the belief that their life won’t be impacted by the results. Others don’t like the candidates they have to choose from, so opt to choose no one. On one hand you have some who don’t believe that their vote will matter, while others don’t want to feel responsible if their preferred candidate turns out to make bad decisions or policies. And, of course, there are those who want to vote but have too many real barriers to do so and others who are simply apathetic to the whole endeavor.
I found it interesting to discover that the word “vote” stems from the Latin term “votum” — which means a wish or a promise. It is seems fitting then that when we go to vote, we are “casting our ballots” — not too dissimilar from when one casts a die, or casts their fishing line. We are not certain but hopeful of a specific outcome.
We are simply making a wish.
One of my daughters will turn eleven just four days after this election. Meaning that she will have to wait two more Presidential elections before she can cast her first vote. This fact infuriates her. She makes a strong case that children should be able to vote — as it is their future that is most impacted by the decisions that “grown ups” make. She wishes she could vote in this election. I can only hope she carries this passion to the polls when her turn comes in 2028.
Our time, however, is now. Tomorrow to be more precise. If you haven’t already, will you vote tomorrow? And in doing so, what will you be wishing for when it comes to our country’s future?
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