The Constitution of the United States protects the natural born rights of American citizens. One of the many rights stated in the constitution is the right to vote.
The fifth amendment states “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The U.S. constitution protects the right to vote regardless of who you are, as long as you are a U.S. citizen and eighteen years of age. African Americans gained the right to vote in the 19th century and women in the 20th century. Other groups who were denied the right to vote include Indigenous people and Asian Americans.
Though certain groups of people were faced with oppression and were denied the right to vote they now have the birth given right to do so. Although some individuals have the right to vote many still do not. They have the privilege to do so when just about a century ago, women did not have the right. Many eligible voters take this right for granted. Others are still fighting for their right to vote. For example, parolees do not have the right to vote on a national level, but have gained that right in states such as California.
There are people who are eligible to vote and, still, decide not to.
“The main reason I decided to not vote this election was that I simply didn’t find both candidates worthy of holding the name and power of being president,” said an 18-year-old local female, who requested to remain anonymous. “Judging from the live interviews and ridiculous back and fourths, these two had all I could envision were children fighting over the last piece of candy or swinging at the park.”
Many possible reasons could be the cause of making eligible voters discouraged to practice their 15th amendment right. Of course, many residents have the urge to vote, but, unfortunately, cannot due to their citizenship status, or age.
Also, election day is held on a weekday, and many, cannot attend the voting polls because they are working. Another possibility is the electoral college. Many citizens who are not residents of a swing state do not care to vote because they tend to believe that their state will always be blue or red.
“I’ve done my personal research and I have seen that presidents are not elected but selected. Every last president has been somewhat 1% or more related to the last one. For me I see it as our vote doesn’t matter because why would they go based on the electoral college system but yet tell us to vote. That makes no sense to me.” says 27-year-old Fransisco Gonzalez.
Some individuals do not like any candidates in the primaries or the general and do not wish to vote for someone who does not match their beliefs.
“I was prompted to not vote because I believe the candidates were horrible and were not fit to run this country at all. I don’t believe 70+-year-old men (no offense to my boomers) are fit to run a YOUNG country” says 18-year-old, Jesus Murguia.
And finally, we have voter suppression. People from low-income communities tend to have financial struggles such as finding transportation to the polls. Other issues that arise include providing proper Identification; which is a law in 20 states, registration laws; some states require voters to register before election day, and of course, the recent issues that have arisen due to mail-in ballots.
In the 2016 elections, 65,853,425 Americans voted for President-Elect Hilary Clinton, 62,984,828 voted for President Donald Trump, 6,674,811 voted for third-party candidates, and about 100,000,000 eligible Americans did not vote.
In the recent presidential election, the next president, Joseph Biden, received 79,424,953 votes, President Donald Trump received 73,563,121, and 2,662,396 were counted towards third-party candidates, as of Nov. 18.
That leaves about 40 million American citizens who were eligible to vote who did not vote in the recent presidential election, according to the Census Bureau.
“I hope the candidates will catch my attention enough to drive me to vote in the election. If so, then I probably will,” says Murguia.