As the upcoming presidential election approaches on Tuesday, many people are preparing to vote. However, some individuals are unable to do so. This population includes a number of students on campus. These students, like others who cannot vote, encourage others to practice their right to vote if they are able.
According to the Pew Research Center, only 55.7 percent of the voting-age population in the United States voted in the 2016 presidential election. Various reasons, such as socioeconomic status, education and race, bar American citizens who want to vote from doing so. In the meantime, many people who are able to vote are not doing so.
Irma Sierra, a junior from Chicago, strongly believes that people should be voting. Many people take their right to vote for granted and miss the opportunity to have a say in the governing system.
“If you don’t vote, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and everyone you know because politics affects everyone around you in one way or the other,” said Sierra.
Those who cannot vote in the presidential election include non-citizens, people with certain felony convictions, people with certain mental incapacities and citizens living in U.S. territories. Some Albion students fall under this umbrella.
“DACA recipients don’t have that privilege and they are very active in society, but they don’t have that privilege to vote and have their voices heard,” said Daniela Lopez, a junior from Chicago. “We depend on our friends who do have the privilege to vote and have our voices heard, if that’s their belief.”
As part of a democracy, voting gives the public a chance to give input on who they want in governing power.
“If people say, ‘well my vote doesn’t count,’ I’m pretty sure it does if that’s what they’re asking for,” said Lopez. “That’s how a democracy is built upon.”
Those who are able to vote have the chance to choose their representatives. Although a big deal is made out of the presidential election, Sierra believes that smaller elections are equally important.
“Somebody should vote, not only in the big, national election but they should also vote in their state elections because they are the people that represent you at the end of the day,” said Sierra.
Being undocumented and surrounded by undocumented people her entire life, Sierra recognizes the significance of voting. She found the 2016 presidential election the most difficult because of Donald Trump’s claims of deporting immigrants. Not being able to vote, due to her status, made her feel useless to herself and those she cared about.
“I feel like I really came to terms with it, so now, I really like to encourage people. I feel like I say this all the time, ‘not everyone can vote so you should vote.’ I say that a lot now because I experienced it firsthand, so now, it doesn’t bother me,” said Sierra. “Now I just want to put it out there that it’s important that you should vote.”