Participating in elections is one of the key freedoms of American life. The right to vote in elections and referenda must be established by law. Margot Willis, National Geographic Society. Don’t be the person who complains about the results, even though you didn’t do what you could to sway them. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Registering to vote can be done online or in person. Privacy Notice | 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. 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. 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. First, an eligible citizen registers to vote, studies the candidates and issues, looks up their polling location, then casts their ballot during the election. Under the Constitution, residency requirements and other qualifications for voting were set by the states. 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. 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. Each article offers multiple reading levels; choose the level best suited for your learner and allow them to explore! The citizens can follow the progress of the political representatives and the legislature. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Voting not only enables the citizens to vote for political parties, but it also helps them to realize the importance of citizenship. 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. Many people do not vote thinking one vote will not make a change, but as a matter of fact, it does. 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. 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. 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. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. This admonition sums up the importance of voting in the United States of America; it is the foundation of our democracy. Having the right to vote gives people ‘equal access to public access’. During America’s early history, women were denied some of the basic rights enjoyed by male citizens. If we fail to vote, we disrespect our entire system. It’s the responsibility and skills of citizen that decides which government is elected. 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). Many Americans perceive voting as optional however; one of the most significant privileges of American citizens is the right to vote. A voter is a citizen who has the legal right to help make decisions for the nation. Voting is the way to express the opinion of a citizen in a democratic nation. Voting is a basic process that keeps a nation’s governmental system works. 1145 17th Street NW If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. While no longer explicitly excluded, voter suppression is a problem in many parts of the country. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to obtain a license. A nation’s political foundations are built using elections. Copyrights 2017 Polling Place Photo Project| All Rights Reserved. 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. Also, the legislature can’t generally act arbitrarily when the entire nation is observing. 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 … 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. Voting is important because even though it is not a requirement, it is considered a civic responsibility. Informed voting and participating in elections is one of the responsibilities of citizens of the United States. The purpose of every government is to develop and implement various policies for the benefit of its citizens. Terms of Service | The people of the United States have a responsibility to make their voices heard. Voting is the fundamental basis of democracy’s ‘Of the people, for the people, and by the people’ slogan. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Some of these political parties might be deceiving with their initial reforms, but can have the intention of corruption. 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. Historically, Native Americans, African Americans, and women have been excluded from the process and in some places, voting is still suppressed. It is the right, privilege and duty to vote as a citizen of your country and a member of your community. Startin… 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. Typically in the United States, national elections draw large numbers of voters compared to local elections. Voting is a right that, throughout the history in many countries, people from across the world have fought and sacrificed everything to achieve. 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. It enables the citizens to choose their own government. In many countries, the minimum age for voting is 18 years. No matter what you believe or whom you support, it is important to exercise your rights. It is a fundamental right in which all citizens get an opportunity to choose who represents them. In the early years of our republic, only white landowners could vote. 3362 Paul Wayne Haggerty Road, Most notably, people’s most important responsibility as citizens involves registering to vote. Voting not only enables the citizens to vote for political parties, but it also helps them to realize the importance of citizenship. So why is it important to vote? Individuals may figure their vote does not make a difference, but rather votes can shape remote monetary and social arrangements. 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. In Cast Your Vote, students choose the questions in a debate, rate candidates' responses, and vote for the candidate of their choice. Importance of VotingJared Candelaria May 30, 2012 S.M.S.S. 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 … Some politicians try to win reelection by making it harder for certain populations and demographics to vote. And yet, this constitutional right was not always available to all people. It is the right, benefit and obligation to vote as a citizen of your nation and an individual from your society. Voting serves an essential function in the United States. The reasons for the importance of voting are many. Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society 10. She or he will best know the preferred format. The term suffrage, or franchise, means the right to vote. Sustainability Policy | 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. 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. It’s a … It also allows the people to choose their representatives in the government. Because of that compulsory voting has been an argumentative issue in the United States. 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. By this definition, voting is a privilege, right and duty of each and every component of a democratic system, i.e., us, the people. Grade 8 The Importance of Voting Voting is a special right that all of us have for living in this free country. One of the most inclusive and simplified definitions of democracy: A system of the people run by the people for the people. selection of people to public office by vote. To help highlight its importance, below are some powerful quotes about voting. Voting rights in the United States have not always been equally accessible. In the hardest voting rights struggle, Black Am… Every party that is competing in any elections announces and establishes various benefits and social reforms for their people. 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