Margot Willis, National Geographic Society. Clinton had won the national popular vote by nearly three million votes, but the concentration of Trump voters in key districts in “swing” states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan helped seal enough electoral votes to win the presidency.Your vote may not directly elect the president, but if your vote joins enough others in your voting district or county, your vote undoubtedly matters when it comes to electoral results. A History of Voting in the United StatesToday, most American citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote in federal and state elections, but voting was not always a default right for all Americans. Voting is a fundamental right of any citizen that enables them to choose the leaders of tomorrow. Voting is a crucial, meaningful way to express yourself and support the issues you care about. It is a fundamental right in which all citizens get an opportunity to choose who represents them. Many factors can intervene in getting voters to the poll in any given election, but generally speaking, the less-well educated, the less-comfortable in speaking out, and the less familiar individuals are with the mechanics of casting a vote they are, the less likely they are to … Most states have a “winner take all” system where the popular vote winner gets the state’s electoral votes. The Electoral College assigns a number of representative votes per state, typically based on the state’s population. The president, however, would be elected not by direct vote, but rather by the Electoral College. The purpose of every government is to develop and implement various policies for the benefit of its citizens. That is why it’s important to regularly check if you are eligible to vote in your district. The 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote in 1870. Many people in countries around the world do not have the same freedom, nor did many Americans in centuries past. Some of these political parties might be deceiving with their initial reforms, but can have the intention of corruption. For example, married women couldn’t own property and had no legal claim to any money they might earn, and no female had the right to vote. If you are unhappy with the current government, you can vote for a better one. It enables the citizens to choose their own government. Voting is a constitutional right that we are privileged to have. The United States Constitution, as originally written, did not define specifically who could or could not vote—but it did establish how the new country would vote.Article 1 of the Constitution determined that members of the Senate and House of Representatives would both be elected directly by popular vote. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. In the late 18th century, it was widely held that only the best-educated men of substance were capable of making the correct voting decisions; therefore, the right to vote was limited to white male property owners. By voting, humans realize the basis of true democracy which is political participation. And yet, this constitutional right was not always available to all people. Registering to vote can be done online or in person. Terms of Service |  state that is equally statistically likely to vote for either of the two major United States political parties, making it key to victory in an election. One of the most inclusive and simplified definitions of democracy: A system of the people run by the people for the people. Today, in those countries, women vote at county elections, and in many cases at municipal elections. These politicians may use strategies such as reducing polling locations in predominantly African American or Lantinx neighborhoods, or only having polling stations open during business hours, when many disenfranchised populations are working and unable to take time off.It was not until the 15th Amendment was passed in 1869 that black men were allowed to vote. Voting not only enables the citizens to vote for political parties, but it also helps them to realize the importance of citizenship. While marches and rallies are an important way to help inform people about various social issues, voting is a more powerful and useful tool for change. activities designed to achieve a social, political, or military goal. This consistent process enables the general population to settle on educated choices about whom to vote in favor of in the following term. In most state and national elections, you need to be registered to vote anywhere from 10-27 days before the actual election. If they are legal U.S. citizens, 18 years of age or older, and have no felony convictions on their record, people are eligible to vote in local, state, and federal elections. 10. Agent of change: Your vote can play an important part in making the change. Individuals may figure their vote does not make a difference, but rather votes can shape remote monetary and social arrangements. Voting is the way to express the opinion of a citizen in a democratic nation. A Historical Perspective: The Injustice of the Poll Tax and Why it Took a Constitutional Amendment; History of the Right to Vote Many Americans perceive voting as optional however; one of the most significant privileges of American citizens is the right to vote. electors representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, responsible for officially electing the President and Vice-President of the United States. In Pursuit of an Affirmative Right to Vote (July 2008) is an analysis by the Advancement Project on the importance of enshrining the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. reducing polling locations in predominantly African American or Lantinx neighborhoods, or only having polling stations open during business hours, when many disenfranchised populations are working and unable to take time off. Each article offers multiple reading levels; choose the level best suited for your learner and allow them to explore! Importance of VotingJared Candelaria May 30, 2012 S.M.S.S. Sustainability Policy |  Also, the legislature can’t generally act arbitrarily when the entire nation is observing. 3362 Paul Wayne Haggerty Road, This is representative of uniformity and congruity. It’s the responsibility and skills of citizen that decides which government is elected. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. And what does it mean for Americans in particular? Women were expected to focus on housework and motherhood, not politics.The campaign for women’s suffrage was a small but growing movement in the decades before the Civil War. The citizens can follow the progress of the political representatives and the legislature. What issues do students want to ask candidates about? Voting is the fundamental basis of democracy’s ‘Of the people, for the people, and by the people’ slogan. Human right: Voting right is a basic human right for all citizens living in a democratic nation. Don’t be the person who complains about the results, even though you didn’t do what you could to sway them. A higher voter turnout makes the democracy more representative. In Cast Your Vote, students choose the questions in a debate, rate candidates' responses, and vote for the candidate of their choice. She or he will best know the preferred format. By registering to vote and then casting your ballot in a local, state or national election, you're helping to shape the place in which you live. Genuine elections are thus a necessary and fundamental component of an environment that protects and promotes human rights. New Orleans, LA 70131. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. member of a country, state, or town who shares responsibilities for the area and benefits from being a member. Privacy Notice |  No matter what you believe or whom you support, it is important to exercise your rights. National Geographic Headquarters The Importance of Protecting Our Right to Vote: Reflecting on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Voting is a powerful tool that can be used to make positive changes to social policy. A voter is a citizen who has the legal right to help make decisions for the nation. In the hardest voting rights struggle, Black Am… We agree with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (), the “Right to Vote” theme speaks to the ongoing struggle on the part of both Black men and women for voting rights.Through voting-rights campaigns and lawsuits, we have made our voices heard as to the importance of the right to vote. Apart from equal opportunities, irrespective of caste or religion and the basic rights, the fundamental right of voting is an advantage for people living in a democratic country. Voting is a right that must be exercised. someone or something who acts in place of a group of people. No matter what you believe or whom you support, it is important to exercise your rights. A nation’s political foundations are built using elections. Every adult is given the right to vote, irrespective of sex, class, occupation and so forth. Had 600 more pro-Gore voters gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been an entirely different president from 2000–2008.More recently, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by securing a close Electoral College win. But many weren't able to exercise this right. During America’s early history, women were denied some of the basic rights enjoyed by male citizens. Later, in 1971, the American voting age was lowered to 18, building on the idea that if a person was old enough to serve their country in the military, they should be allowed to vote.With these constitutional amendments and legislation like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the struggle for widespread voting rights evolved from the Founding Fathers’ era to the late 20th century.Why Your Vote MattersIf you ever think that just one vote in a sea of millions cannot make much of a difference, consider some of the closest elections in U.S. history.In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush. The freedom to vote is America’s most important political right outside of the original Bill of Rights, and it is also the most hard-won right. The … Every party that is competing in any elections announces and establishes various benefits and social reforms for their people. Having the right to vote gives people ‘equal access to public access’. Voting serves an essential function in the United States. It is a chance for the citizens of a country to have a say in the people who represent them or an issue that impacts them. In most cases, landowning white men were eligible to vote, while white women, black people, and other disadvantaged groups of the time were excluded from voting (known as disenfranchisement). © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. Participating in elections is one of the key freedoms of American life. In the end, Bush won Florida by 0.009 percent of the votes cast in the state, or 537 votes. In the early years of our republic, only white landowners could vote. In many countries, the minimum age for voting is 18 years. It also enables the person with the right to question the government about issues and clarifications. Voting is a fundamental process in a democratic system. While no longer explicitly excluded, voter suppression is a problem in many parts of the country. The Right to Vote Is Not in the Constitution If you’re looking for the right to vote, you won’t find it in the United States Constitution or the Bill of Rights. You may not be able to walk into a voting booth, but there are things you can do to get involved: Participating in elections is one of the key freedoms of American life. In the United States, the voting process is fairly straightforward. There are also local and state elections to consider. Voting not only enables the citizens to vote for political parties, but it also helps them to realize the importance of citizenship. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, when the long efforts of the women’s suffrage movement resulted in the 19th Amendment.With these amendments removing the previous barriers to voting (particularly sex and race), theoretically all American citizens over the age of 21 could vote by the mid 1960s. Voting is a basic process that keeps a nation’s governmental system works. This would continue until the 24th Amendment in 1964, which eliminated the poll tax, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ended Jim Crow laws. Low turnout means that important local issues are determined by a limited group of voters, making a single vote even more statistically meaningful.How You Can Make Your Voice HeardIf you are not yet 18, or are not a U.S. citizen, you can still participate in the election process. In many countries, the minimum age for voting is 18 years. You cannot download interactives. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. Right to vote energizes social awareness since it empowers political cooperation. The people of the United States have a responsibility to make their voices heard. En español | On Aug. 18, 1920, the ratification of the 19th Amendment — which guarantees women equal voting rights — came down to a single tie-breaking vote in the Tennessee Legislature.. Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old state representative, was up for reelection and under pressure to oppose the amendment, which Congress had passed in 1919 and which required ratification by 36 … It also allows the people to choose their representatives in the government. Startin… It is important to consider some of the pros… So why is it important to vote? This should be respected and the right should be availed at any cost. It is the right, privilege and duty to vote as a citizen of your country and a member of your community. The article states, “When suffragists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848, they advocated for the right of white women to vote. “Voting is your civic duty.” This is a pretty common sentiment, especially each November as Election Day approaches. Historically, Native Americans, African Americans, and women have been excluded from the process and in some places, voting is still suppressed. Code of Ethics. Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. A Citizen should actually not need to find any reason to Vote. We take it for granted, but the constitution has given us the right to elect who we want, and the right to make the change. Most notably, people’s most important responsibility as citizens involves registering to vote. To help highlight its importance, below are some powerful quotes about voting. selection of people to public office by vote. It is the right, benefit and obligation to vote as a citizen of your nation and an individual from your society. These articles provide insight into a breadth of important issues facing our world today, including the environment, civic engagement, and history. Teach your students about the importance of voting with these resources. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. Copyrights 2017 Polling Place Photo Project| All Rights Reserved. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. In England and Scotland, but a few years ago, only a few men in the population were allowed to vote—money was the requisite quality. The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave American women the right to vote. The right to vote in elections and referenda must be established by law. In Utah, Colorado and Idaho women as voters have the same rights as men. Women's suffrage is, by definition, the right of women to vote. But even so, many would-be voters faced artificial hurdles like poll taxes, literacy tests, and other measures meant to discourage them from exercising their voting right. Many people in countries around the world do not have the same freedom, nor did many Americans in centuries past. Importance of Voting. On the day of the election, voters won’t just have the capacity to choose their representatives in government for the following term, and they can also decide on measures like security issues that concede the government authority to borrow funds for development projects and different advancements. tax levied on all voters, often serving as a financial obstacle to poor citizens. 1145 17th Street NW This was the goal of the suffragists, who believed in using legal means, as well as the suffragettes, who used extremist measures.Short-lived suffrage equity was drafted into provisions of the State of New Jersey's first, 1776 Constitution, which extended the Right to Vote to unwed female landholders and black land owners. The term suffrage, or franchise, means the right to vote. Voting rights in the United States have not always been equally accessible. Typically in the United States, national elections draw large numbers of voters compared to local elections. Some politicians try to win reelection by making it harder for certain populations and demographics to vote. Voting is crucial to activating the democratic process. The women’s right to vote positively affects me and the world by creating inspiration that we can foster change in the world and transform it into the place we want to live in. Voting is important because even though it is not a requirement, it is considered a civic responsibility. Therefore, rather than enjoying it as a holiday, one must vote if he truly wants to contribute to the nation-building process and bring about a change. Although the election did not come down to a handful of votes in one state, Trump’s votes in the Electoral College decided a tight race. The reasons for the importance of voting are many. The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, eliminated poll taxes. vote totals for a candidate or issue, made by all qualified voters. Grade 8 The Importance of Voting Voting is a special right that all of us have for living in this free country. This indirect election method was seen as a balance between the popular vote and using a state’s representatives in Congress to elect a president.Because the Constitution did not specifically say who could vote, this question was largely left to the states into the 1800s. It gives you the ability to choose who is in office and have a say on what goes on in the political world. First, an eligible citizen registers to vote, studies the candidates and issues, looks up their polling location, then casts their ballot during the election. Half a century ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought an end to the era of Jim Crow by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. “The right of all people to vote in elections, without any discrimination, is one of the most fundamental of all human rights … issues surrounding the legal right and ability to campaign and cast a vote in political elections. By this definition, voting is a privilege, right and duty of each and every component of a democratic system, i.e., us, the people. All rights reserved. There are many factors due to which we consider democracy effective for the progress of a nation. If we fail to vote, we disrespect our entire system. Also, in some cases, voters cast their voting sheets on social issues. Voting is a right that, throughout the history in many countries, people from across the world have fought and sacrificed everything to achieve. Positive measures should be taken by the government to overcome specific difficulties, such as illiteracy, language barriers, poverty, or impediments to freedom of movement that prevent persons entitled to vote from exercising their rights … Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. The right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, including the right to vote and to stand for election, is at the core of democratic governments based on the will of the people. In all, voting is a constitutional right and privilege that Americans have. Slowly, the franchise was expanded in the states to incorporate white male laborers, and women gained full or partial suffrage in most states before winning the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, which federalized full and equal voting rights for women. 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