Students give opinions on importance of voting rights.
By Kelli Green
March 25, 2016 marks the fifty-first anniversary of the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, AL. The purpose of the march was to restore and protect voting rights for blacks and other minorities who were being kept away from their rights –originally granted by the fifteenth amendment in 1865- through intimidation and violence.
Martin Luther King Jr. and several other leaders led thousands of people from every background, race and religion on a five day march to the capital of Alabama. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act that year, making it against the law to try and keep a citizen from voting.
Fifty-one years later we are in the midsts of another election year. Today we see commercials with celebrities like Robert De Niro reminding you that no one can stop you from voting, and there are numbers you can call if you feel like you’re being bullied at the polls. But we also have commercials and ads reminding everyone repeatedly how important their voice is. In 1965, no one had to tell those thousands of people how important their vote was.
“[Voting] is the people’s chance to stay involved , and elect who they feel can run the country best,” said registered voter and PSC student Silvia Johnson. Her current issue with the election is that she is not satisfied with the current candidate choices. However, she still feels that voting is important because the lack of representation at the polls is a troubling issue in today’s society.
Sarah Lewis, a senior executive assistant at PSC and a registered voter, feels that people who choose not to vote have no right to complain about how the government is handling things. “If you don’t have a say, you can’t have a complaint.” Lewis believes that voting is not only a civic responsibility, but an honor. She believes that proper officials need to be elected and people need to speak up and choose the individuals they think can get the job done.
Registered voter and PSC student Aleigha Alexander feels that it is a waste not to vote. She believes that voting in itself holds a significant amount of power. “Every vote is equal, so with such a little action as checking a box for the candidate of your choosing, that action can reap as much good as evil.”
Alexander also thinks that it is important to remember the struggles of the people who fought for the right to vote. “The issues our country has today are just as important as the issues that were going on in 1965.”
However, Alexander also expressed some concern about picking a worthy candidate, and feels that she sometimes has to pick from the lesser of two evils. Nonetheless, she will still exercise her right and cast her vote. She thinks the millennials are really stepping up this election year, and that it may be due to the, ”rampant social injustices, and the global issues that are shown to us by through media platforms.”
So with the historical anniversary just around the corner and with the election season coming up we can not help but take into consideration the importance of casting a vote. Though it may be fifty-one years since the voting rights act was signed we are still facing some of the same issues we were then, along with new issues that need to be addressed. Everyone has at least one issue they are passionate about if they just sit down and think about it. The consensus seems to be that voting is a necessity that should not be overlooked.
No matter whom you are voting for this year, or if you are considering not even voting at all, try to remember that many fought, and some even died to make sure everyone would have the opportunity to have their voices heard. We owe it to them and to ourselves as American citizens to do more than just shove that victory in our back pockets.