Choosing to vote is a right, so is deciding not to

Jillian LeBlanc, Opinion Editor

The right to vote is not an obligation, it is a choice given to every adult in this country. That option is not an ultimatum, or a death sentence, it is a decision you willingly make based on the life you live.

With the election looming, society is generating strong feelings about which of those options is the correct choice.

President Obama made his opinion known in March 2015, stating that voting should be mandatory, much like healthcare. This idea is not radical or new considering several countries ranging from Australia to Peru enforces required voting.

While this sounds like a good idea, it isn’t the best option. Forcing the public to vote effectively takes away their right, making society choose a side even if they don’t want to. Amendments were made to the Constitution to allow everyone to vote, but this is by no means an obligation, in the United States you have a choice.

Not everyone is interested in politics, and forcing them to vote upon issues they don’t understand is hardly fair. Making disinterested people vote could do more harm because they are using trivial details to formulate their opinions. They aren’t voting on the issues that matter, often relying on their friends or peers for guidance.

When people base their opinions off that of another, progress cannot be made because it is not a true reflection of our society. Ideas are mimicked despite the fact that everyone has a different view. This replication is seen everywhere, skewing the ballots because society is too lazy to think for itself.

The Huffington Post reported in 2014 that this view is common among millennials, believing that only the informed should vote. Those of older generations think that everyone can vote – no matter their amount of knowledge – and should exercise their right wisely.

The Huffington Post goes on to say that an increasing amount of people changes their opinion about others based on their decision as a voter. Many claim to think less about someone if an eligible voter chooses not to vote.

That factor should not diminish the image of an individual, it doesn’t change who they are.

Deciding not to vote isn’t a decision based on laziness, but often it’s about being self-aware, and accepting that your lack of knowledge may benefit the country more

than your blind vote. Not voting could be the better option depending on the individual, and society should not shame people for exercising their rights.

Whether you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or no one, you’re allowed to do whatever you see fit. Don’t feel ashamed to pass the ballot, to pass the polls, and stand your ground against politics.

“You are a human being. You have rights inherent in that reality. You have dignity and worth that exists prior to law,” said Lyn Beth Neylon.

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