Importance Of Voting Essay

659 words | 3 page(s)

America is a society founded and maintained by ideas of individual economic and legal freedom. Crucial to this is active participation of individual citizens in the formation of governments and in the manner in which the country is run. As one commentator notes, the US constitution itself mentions the idea of voting at least five times (Epps, 2016). As such, the idea of voting and the importance that is placed upon it with regard to American democracy has consistently remained a vitally important subject of debate throughout the history of the country. As the US prepares for a new presidential election, it is becoming increasing clear that how individuals vote with have a massive effect on the future of the the country, the future of the people who live in it and the future of other nations in the world. Given this, it is increasingly clear that voter apathy is something that should be taken seriously, and where possible, argued against.

One of the most common arguments that individuals make in order to justify not voting is the suggestion that such an action makes no difference to the current state of affairs. This is especially seen to be the case by some African American writers who maintain that a fundamentally racist system cannot be changed be changed by something as simple as going to the ballot box. A simple understanding of history, however, shows that this is clearly not the case. Indeed, it is evidently the case that current presidential candidates, especially those in the Democratic party are actively seeking the support of black voters. At the same time, however, several commentators have noted that such voters have often been known to act directly against their own interests, especially when it comes to supporting presidential candidates such as Bill and Hillary Clinton (Kurtzlebe, 2016). A such, it is not possible to claim simply that the act of voting is necessarily empowering and it is clear that individuals must be able to make informed choice if real change in their lives is to occur.

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Despite this, however, it is important to note the contemporary situation is one in which voting can continue to make a difference. Most importantly, however, it is one in which voting can represent a genuine exercise of agency in a manner that can be argued to exclude race, and to represent a manifestation of individual freedom that is actually free from racialized discrimination. Indeed, as Milton Friedman notes (2002) , a system dedicated to the maintenance of individual freedom is a system which “does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another” (p. 57). The act voting itself should be seen as the most important exercise of individual freedom in modern America. As such, it is faithful to a mode of action which, at its most pure, is capable of negating racial categories and demarcations within society.

In conclusion, therefore, the up and coming presidential election presents a situation in which the African American voters will be appealed to in order as a key aspect of election strategy. While many argue that such people voting amounts to a futile gesture, this is manifestly not the case. Not only African Americans posses the ability to actively change the outcome of the next general election but it is possible to argue that the act of voting itself is one of the few areas of life in America in racial demarcation can be effectively, and permanently, removed.

  • Epps, G. (2012). Voting: Right or Privilege? Retrieved April 13, 2016, from
  • Friedman, Milton. (2002). Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.
  • Kurtzleben, D. (2016, March 1). Understanding The Clintons’ Popularity With Black Voters. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from

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