Huntingtown High School
Jennifer plans to study Biology at Johns Hopkins University.
The Right to Vote
To me, the right to vote means having a voice, being heard. There can’t be democracy without it. Voting allows the populace to hold their elected representatives accountable. If politicians wish to be reelected, they have to listen to the people. Otherwise, public opinion can turn against them and the vote that got them in, will get them out. At its root, voting is a beautifully crafted system of accountability. Although not without its flaws, it works to prevent encroachments of power. So, suffrage should not be taken lightly, nor be neglected. I know this firsthand because in Honduras, the country where I was born, people fear that their votes will be falsified. Just the mere prospect of being left without a say in one’s government is both saddening and frightening. So, this perspective gives me a greater appreciation of what it means to vote. Since I am only a permanent US resident, and not a citizen, I cannot vote in the United States. However, I have lived in the US since the age of nine, so I love this country and wish the best for it. Thus, when I do become a citizen, I will exercise my right to vote happily and actively. I will do my research and be an informed voter because I understand how powerful a vote can be.
As a Hispanic woman, it is horrifying to witness the enactment of restrictive voting laws that hurt underserved communities and minorities. The issue affects all of us as a unified nation, and it goes against the very values of equality of opportunity that are so often professed by patriots. So, to ensure all citizens’ voting rights, Democrats need to ardently lobby for and enact legislation that counteracts the corrosive effects of voter suppression. For instance, national standards could be enforced to ensure that the distribution of voting machines and poll workers is equitable. Not only would this reduce the long lines and waits that prevent some voters from exercising their right to vote, but it would also ensure that voting sites are more accessible to communities. Moreover, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 needs to be strengthened to restore protections such as preclearance. A bipartisan amendment bill could be created to achieve these means. After all, a compromise would be more likely to gain support from Republicans in Congress. However, fewer concessions would have to be made if Democrats held a greater majority in the legislative body. So, Democrats need to call for greater voter turnouts in Congressional elections. People need to understand that presidential elections are not the only votes that matter. Not even the president can make laws on his own. So, educational campaigns could be conducted to inform the public on the issue and encourage their vote. Voter suppression can be fought by voting against it.