A Wilton resident and Jesuit High School senior has won an essay contest from the Elk Grove League of Women Voters with a piece on the importance of voting, that group announced Friday.
Eric Avila will receive a $100 prize for his entry, which is included below:
Our right to vote in the United States is a privilege that was granted to us hundreds of years ago by the founders of this country. Voting is an important process in which we come together to voice our opinions so that we may be represented by a government that best suits our nation. However, if we do not exercise our civic duty to vote, then we fail to create a government that is supposed to represent the people; that is, by not voting, our government cannot reflect our opinions because our opinions are not being counted. For this reason, we must perform our duty to vote so that we may create an honest and successful nation.
Perhaps the most basic reason to vote is simply because it is important to have an opinion! The United States was developed over the course of more than 200 years by the beliefs of the individuals who formed its body. Voting is, essentially, a part of our history. Without the collection of thoughts and ideas that the citizens put into the system, the United States would not be anywhere near the position that it is in today. Most important however, is that America was founded on freedom, so although it may be your decision not to vote, choosing so would mean that you are forfeiting a part of your right to decide who and what will affect you.
In fact, voting determines who will represent you and your country. One of the main purposes of voting is to elect an official who will fight for your opinions and will try to satisfy the needs of the people. Surely no one wants a president or governor who does not benefit the people they govern. Voting, therefore, helps to elect the appropriate candidate, reassuring the voter that they have performed their duty to help select a well-qualified leader. After all, if you do not vote, how can you be sure that the next leader will be the best one?
Lastly, most everyone in the United States must contribute back to the nation. The most prominent example of this would likely be taxes. In this case, everyone who pays taxes should vote because it helps decide where the money is spent. Many people from other countries do not have this privilege, so we as Americans are fortunate that we have this ability.
Many people believe that one vote does not matter. However, it is the collective power that comes from voting that truly matters. For example, the presidential election in 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore came down to a recount of the popular votes to determine who would be president. This election is the most important example of why it is important to vote, even today. Voting is essential, for without voting, we could not have created a country that thrives on the collective opinion of its people.