Rebecca Horvath 🔴 Voting: An Age-Old Event, but not only for Old Ages

Rebecca Horvath 🔴 Voting: An Age-Old Event, but not only for Old Ages

New post on NET3D – The Northeast Tennessee Forum

Voting: An Age-Old Event, but not only for Old Ages

by Rebecca Horvath

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By Cooper Reaves, First Time Voter

July 1, 1971. This date, while not memorized by many Americans, is an important date in the history of the United States. It is a date in which America’s democracy was refined for the better. This is the date when the 26th amendment was ratified by the 92nd United States Congress. This amendment, though not referenced frequently, reshaped our country to be better suited for the future. 

The 26th amendment is not a popular one. It does not give freedom of speech, nor does it remove a president from power. The 26th amendment lowered the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old. The amendment ensures that the right to vote for adults is not denied on the account of age. A lowering of an age requirement may seem trivial to some, but to this 18 year old it’s a statement; a statement that says young people are heard and valued as the future of this country. 

Voting for any age is an honor and privilege. It is a chance to have your opinions listened to, and not like your Facebook friends “listen” to your opinions on a post. It’s a chance to participate in a 232 year-old process. More importantly, it is a chance to participate in a democracy that has been fought for and died for. Not only fought for in military service, but also in civil protests. Women, minorities, and young people have all fought for their right to vote and have succeeded in their quests. Voting is an act that we should not take for granted. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 53% of the eligible citizens voted in the 2018 midterm elections, the highest turnout in four decades. Among 18-29 year olds, turnout was 36%. While this number is an increase from the 2016 elections, it is still the lowest turnout out of all age ranges. This age range has consistently yielded the lowest turnout in elections. This 36%, along with the history of low turnout, does not do justice to a constitutionally-protected right.

Some young adults I talk to do not see the importance of voting. “I’m just one small vote” they say. Many tell me that they are not even registered to vote. Young people have been given an extraordinary opportunity since 1971, but may not realize the power it holds. The excitement that surrounds a first time vote differs from the excitement surrounding the ability to get a tattoo or buy a lottery ticket for the first time. Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan said “American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver’s license age than at voting age.” This rings true today. Young people in today’s world do not realize the important and powerful process they can take part in. 

This November will be the first time for me and many other young people in our area to vote. I implore all young people to vote and increase our turnout. It is imperative that young people get out and vote because not only will they be fulfilling their constitutionally-protected right, they will be deciding their future. This election, they will be deciding THEIR president for the next four years, THEIR congressman for the next two years, THEIR senator for the next six years, THEIR city commissioners for the next four years. Young people voting this year is of the utmost importance because it is THEIR RIGHT to do so.  

“Talk is cheap, voting is free; take it to the polls.” 

 – Nanette L. Avery   

copyright 2020 by Cooper Reaves

Cooper Reaves is an 18 year- old Johnson City native. A recent Science Hill graduate, Cooper is heading to ETSU in the fall to major in media and communication with a focus in advertising and public relations. Cooper is very active in his community. He works on many projects through his church and is currently volunteering on two political campaigns.  

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