By Beverley Garcia
Pulse Staff Reporter
Throughout American history, we did not always have an uncompromised representative government. This is because many citizens did not have the right to vote, including women, African Americans and other races.
Our elected leaders pass laws and make decisions on where budget money should be spent, if and when we should help other countries when they are going through crisis and how citizens’ healthcare should be regulated.
“It is very important as an American to vote in any election, not just presidential. You as a person are deciding who should be the leader of the free world. This person who you choose will control the military and will be our diplomat when it comes to foreign affairs,” said Roger P. Ayala II, a 22-year-old junior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio who also takes classes at Palo Alto College.
Many citizens don’t vote in elections because they don’t care who wins or loses. For those who don’t care, it might be because they have busy lives and don’t want to spend the time and effort it takes to learn about the candidates and what their values are.
Oliver Jones, assistant professor of Social Studies, said, “It appears that if our educators, along with politicians, can discuss relevancy of voting in a manner that people can understand, (this) can contribute to more political participation.”
Jones said that voting is important because it provides opportunities for citizens to influence several facets of life.
Many people wish to vote but are ineligible to vote. This includes individuals not granted U.S. citizenship by birth or the naturalization process, persons younger than 18 years of age and, in most states, incarcerated people.
The citizens of many countries around the world don’t get the opportunity to vote for their leaders. In an article by Joseph Mayton for The Guardian, he reveals about 100 countries don’t allow their citizens to vote.
Some citizens also don’t believe their one vote makes a difference. In the presidential election of 2000, George W. Bush had 537 more votes than Al Gore in the state of Florida. Florida had 6 million total votes, showcasing how close the election was and the importance of each vote.
Rosa Martinez, Bexar County judge, believes it would be disastrous if the citizens of the United States did not have the right to vote.
“We are so used to our freedom,” she said.
Both Martinez and Assistant Professor Jones have always voted because of how significant it is to elect a president to govern our country.
Martinez believes that our president should energize our country by talking to us positively and sincerely.
The presidents of the United States have many tools to use their influence by directly vetoing a bill, contacting members of Congress or using executive orders to bring about positive change, said Jones.
Registered voters can vote in the general election, which begins early voting on Oct. 24, 2016. The last day that you can vote is Nov. 4, 2016, and the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11, 2016. You may register to vote at http://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/register-to-vote/