Citizens should exercise their right to vote

Staff Editorial

    Ever since the establishment of this nation, people have had the right the vote.  Throughout the years, however, the restrictions on who can vote have changed. 
    When the Constitution was written, only white male property owners could vote.  By 1850, property ownership and tax requirements were eliminated, which meant almost all white men had the right to vote.  When the 15th Amendment was passed all men of any race received voting rights.
    In 1920 the 19th amendment granted suffrage to women.  Four years later, Native Americans were finally granted the right to vote.  In 1971 the voting age was changed to 18. In the U.S. today, practically every U.S. citizen over 18 years old has the right to vote. 
    Throughout our country’s history voting has been an important issue.  Government leaders have argued over who should and should not be allowed to vote.  This proves that voting, and who should be allowed to vote are important topics. 
    When people vote they are expressing their rights to choose who will represent them and how they will be represented.  The people that we vote for will make important decisions, determining the laws that affect us personally.  
    As a voting people, we also decide who will be our president.  Our president is the leader of our country and is one of the most powerful government officials in the world.  He has the power to influence Congress and the Supreme Court.
    By voting for our representatives and for our president, we help decide how this country will be governed.   If you do not vote then you have no right to complain about the way the government is run because you have not done anything to change it. 
    You might think that your one vote does not matter, but your vote sends a message about what you think are important issues.   When people vote, they share their voice.
    Other people might think that the government does not affect them, but what they do not realize is the government has more power than they realize.  Government officials decide whether to raise or lower taxes, whether to regulate or de-regulate business and trade, and even whether to engage in overseas conflict.  These issues affect everyone.  
    Local elections are just as important as state and federal elections.  The officials chosen to lead in local elections directly affect your community.    
    As U.S. citizens, we are fortunate to live in a free nation where the government gives citizens the opportunity to change what they do not like about the country through voting.