Your voice, your vote counts in 2016

By: GEORGIA I. SALVARYN

The 2016 Presidential Election is nearly upon us, and that means, it’s crunch time for the candidates to grab as many voters as they can. But, the question is, are you registered to vote?

The 2016 Presidential Election is nearly upon us, and that means, it’s crunch time for the candidates to grab as many voters as they can. But, the question is, are you registered to vote?

“Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy but sadly far too few people vote,” massvote.org reports in their The Importance of Voting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 65% of the U.S. population voted during the 2014 Presidential Election.

Everyone’s vote counts. “Voting is a fundamental process that keeps our system of government working,” annenbergclassroom.org reports in their Path to the Presidency: Why is it important to vote?. “Through elections, citizens have the ability to decide who represents them in government, be it a local official, a state or national representative, or the president.”

There are many people who make excuses to avoid voting. “I don’t know who’s running.” “I don’t know anything about the candidates.” “I don’t know about the issues.” “My vote doesn’t matter.” These excuses are avoidable. Most candidates provide websites to the public to express and explain the details of their ideas and goals for office. The websites for the current presidential candidates are listed below:

Democrats

•Hillary Clinton —hillaryclinton.com

•Bernie Sanders — berniesanders.com

Republicans

•Donald Trump —donaldjtrump.com

•Ted Cruz —tedcruz.org

•John Kasich —johnkasich.com

In the current Presidential primary, as of April 26, Donald Trump is the frontrunner candidate in the Republican party with 996 delegates out of 1,237 and Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner candidate in the Democratic party with 2,165 delegates out of 2,383.

“Reading up on the issues, the candidates, and researching the ballot is also the responsibility of the citizen voter and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, because it is your voice, with many others, in unison, that can change the direction of a community, state, nation, and even the world,” annenbergclassroom.org reports.

According to the Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate article on census.gov, the majority of voters, 77.2 percent on average, from the 2004 election to the 2014 election were white, non-Hispanics. On average, approximately 40.4 percent of those voters in that time period were between ages 45 and 64. The amount of voters between ages 18 and 34 in that same time period was, on average, 20.3 percent.

“People who vote are associated with a host of positive civic, health and social factors,” reports massvote.org. The article elaborates reporting that citizens who participate in community events and local affairs are more informed and have a greater sense about the needs of the community and, therefore, are more driven to vote.

Voting is a right, not a privilege. Throughout American history, men and women have fought for our right to vote. Today, people all around the world, who don’t live in an organized democracy, fight for the right to vote and die trying. “By voting, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate,” annenbergclassroom.org testifies.

Election Day in New Jersey is on November 8, 2016. To be eligible to vote in New Jersey, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by the next  election, and a resident in your N.J. county for at least 30 days prior to the next election (dmv.org). For more information on voter registration, go to http://www.dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/voter-registration.

For voting information, go to http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information. If you have not registered to vote, pull up the Cumberland voter registration application form and begin your journey as a voting citizen. Vote. Let your voice be heard. Be a part of change because it’s your voice, your vote.

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