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Why “not voting” is a privilege – and how to use it

Imagine for a second that you could omit taking one of your midterm exams and this choice would have no effect on your final grade for that course. If this were the case, how many of us would take an exam?

Similarly, this presidential election is a social experiment in which we are the guinea pigs and the hypothesis being tested is: if the electoral system produces the two polarizing candidates in history, then America will be driven closer to either Nazism or Communism.

Our participation in the presidential election in the state of Maryland and in any other non-swing state, will have no implication on which candidate takes the state’s respective electoral votes.

Despite this fact, UMBC students are constantly being badgered to “go out and vote.” Public schooling has attempted to ingrain in us the thought process that because certain groups did not have voting rights in history, it is our obligation to vote, even if we do not like any of the candidates.

This is an utterly wrong conviction to have.

In certain parts of the world, like Cuba, where many of my family members live, it is illegal not to vote. When Fidel Castro proclaimed the first so-called “democratic” election would take place after his socialist revolution, my family members recall being told that if they did not vote for the one and only option (Castro), they would be shot and killed.

Therefore, leaving the boxes for president unchecked is just as important of a statement to make as is voting for one candidate or the other.

There is a reason why many in our age group refuse to vote on election day: there are flaws in the system and many times neither candidate presented is fit to hold the office of the President of the United States.

Our votes are just numbers, but the voices of this generation are far more important. If we truly want a system that values our opinions, we must express them by calling for a more open system, in which we can take a more crucial role.

This new system for electing presidents would not reproduce the same last names (Clinton, Bush, etc.), emulating a Chinese dynasty. This new system would not disallow new parties from being created, or prevent their voices from being heard.

This new system would allow regular, every-day citizens to become President of the United States. All we have to do is come together as a nation, renounce our broken two-party system and look for ways to reinstate freedom as more than just a symbol in the U.S.

So next time someone tells you voting is a privilege and you must take advantage of it, remind yourself that you also have the right not to vote.