As we all know, Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole and Ross Perot, thereby remaining President of the United States. In order for him to have won, many people had to have voted for him. Many did, but many people did not vote at all. Only 49% of the country voted. This was the lowest turnout since 1924. We need many voters so that the country, as a whole, can make major decisions that will affect major concerns including taxes, health care and the national debt.
Many ask the almighty question: "Why should I vote?" The answer(s) are both simple and numerous. One is to be able to criticize down the road. For example, say the President raises taxes. You can't say he is doing a bad job simply because you had an opportunity to elect a different candidate, but you threw that opportunity away by not voting. Another reason to vote is to voice your opinion. The more opinions that are heard, the better off the country is. If people can reach a certain consensus on a problem, then everyone should be satisfied.
For some strange reason, people tend to think their vote doesn't count. Every vote is counted and recorded. If the candidates knew that only a few votes counted, why would they bother to run those ads that cost millions of dollars? In years past, many people exercised their right to vote.
In conclusion, there are a few suggestions I'd like to make. First off, the news updates should be aired after the end of all the elections, so that people on the West Coast won't know whether the election is a landslide. During this election, many people didn't vote on the West Coast because they knew that Bill Clinton had a commanding lead.
Secondly, the polls should open at the same time nationwide, regardless of the time zone the state is in. This way, the polls would open and close at the same time, so that no preliminary results would be given, hinting at the winner. Lastly, vote to be heard. It feels good as you walk out of that election booth knowing that you made the right decision. Exercise your right to vote, all you eighteen-year-olds out there, because your vote and the rest of the country's vote can and will make a difference. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.