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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Americans have the right not to vote, if they so choose

As soon as an American turns 18, they are encouraged to participate in the democratic process. Now that we live in an age when every adult citizen has the right to vote, they are told to show gratitude by exercising that right and voting for representatives and laws.

It’s not always easy to get excited about politics. If Americans can’t take an interest and don’t feel good about any option, they are looked down on for choosing not to vote.

Look at this year’s election cycle: His Orangeness himself, Donald Trump, is currently leading the race for the Republican nomination. Many of his ideas—building a huge wall along the southern border and making Mexico pay for it, for example—are hard to take seriously.

It’s just as silly, however, when people break road laws and block traffic to protest a Trump rally. It feels more like entertainment than real-life politics. It’s not pleasant to put effort into a political system that oftentimes seems like a joke, and it’s disheartening to many that an individual like Trump could get the Republican nomination and become president.

But how would one go about stopping his momentum? Those who oppose Trump could register as Republicans just to vote for someone other than him. Or just hope everyone against him will band together and vote for the Democratic candidate.

But if Americans are just voting by party and not for the candidate whom they want to represent the country, what kind of a democracy is that?

The way primaries run—narrowing down the field of candidates to a single representative from each party—often causes voters to choose by party, not candidate. The U.S. Constitution says nothing about political parties. Therefore, it is okay to find fault within the current system and not want to participate in it.

What if someone can’t find a candidate to really stand behind?

I’ve looked into every candidate and found something that made me think, “I can’t vote for that person.”

When that happens for every candidate, there is nothing to do except pick the least of all evils, and it’s hard to put heart behind that. It’s understandable to not be excited about voting when there’s no candidate you want to vote for.

I’m not voting in this year’s primary because there isn’t a candidate that stands out as a good option and I don’t want to vote for someone I can’t stand behind. I don’t like the two-party system that plays an integral role in the results of our elections. The process doesn’t feel democratic and I don’t want to participate in something so different from what the founding fathers intended for this country.

Unfortunately, people can’t make the decision not to vote without receiving backlash.

People often think that since Americans have the right to make their voices heard, it is unintelligent to choose not to. But as Americans, the right to choose not to vote is equally protected. It isn’t fair for someone to feel forced to participate in a process in which they have no faith. By not voting, individuals are still exercising their protected rights.

It’s important for people to do things they believe in and participate in things that matter to them. It’s up to each person to make decisions for themselves about presidential candidates and about whether they want to vote.

That’s what living in the land of the free is all about.

Follow Rhiannon Bauer on Twitter.

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