Why Every Citizen Should Use Their Right to Vote

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On December Twenty-ninth, 1945, the province of Texas became a part of the United States of America. A vote that changed the size, shape, and strength of America forever. Congress voted. The vote was 25- 27. One vote would have swung the balance, but a man named James Harrigan voted for the statehood of Texas. His one vote tipped the scales. My vote matters because like James Harrigan, it can tip the scales. Unfortunately, many of today’s youth see the election system as too huge, too large, and too overwhelming for their insignificant vote to do anything. Votes are won by thousands, not by my smidge of a vote. Yet over 40% of eligible adults didn’t vote in 2016. Many of those people didn’t vote, because they didn’t think it would matter, and yet those 100 million people would have more than tipped the scales.

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Fortunately, organizations like “New Voters Project” and “Our Time” are encouraging people to vote. For years now, these organizations have worked tirelessly to get people to vote, registering millions of young people, and proclaiming that without voting, we are silencing ourselves. Like our founding fathers said, “Taxation without Representation.” They broke off from England because they didn’t have a representative who could vote for the colonies. But there is more to the story about the statehood of Texas. It doesn’t, however, start in D.C., no not even Congress, instead, this story begins in 1836 on a little farm in Indiana. A man named Jamison Shoemaker was plowing his field when his neighbor comes whistling along. Shoemaker asked why his neighbor had to be so cheery on this dull day. His joyful neighbor replied that he was always happy on Election Day. Shoemaker gave a start. He’d forgotten that it was Election Day, so he hurriedly saddled Bessie to rush into town. Voting just before the polls closed, Jamison Shoemaker cast a vote for Madison Marsh. Marsh became their representative to the Indiana State Legislature. The vote was 218 to 217. Shoemaker cast the deciding vote. While that’s unusual, our story doesn’t end there. Madison Marsh went to the state legislature, and in 1942, that legislature voted on a new senator to go to Washington, D.C. Three candidates were running for the position: Harold Zummwald, Benjamin Rothchild, and an unknown man named James Harrigan. Zummwald and Rothchild were expected to win since Harrigan was all but unknown. The vote was close, a three-way tie, in fact, except Harrigan won by the vote of none other than Madison Marsh. Our farmer, Shoemaker, voted for Madison Marsh, who won by one vote. Madison Marsh voted for James Harrigan, who won by one vote, and James Harrigan voted for Texas to become a state, which passed by one vote.

We, as Americans, can influence our country by our voice and by our vote. America was designed as a representative republic. A republic who is represented by our vote. If there is a man who stands for what we believe, we can change this country by our vote. If there is a bill that needs be passed, we vote. Our vote changes the country for generations to come, and that is why my vote matters.

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