All eligible voters should participate in democracy

Amelie Pineda | Conant Crier

It’s Election Day. Many Conant seniors are 18, meaning that they are eligible to vote. While it may feel as if your single vote might not make a difference, voting is the foundation of democracy. You are taking part in shaping the future of this country. By voting, you choose someone to represent your beliefs for a better America. Your vote matters.

Right now in the United States, women are fighting for the rights to their own bodies. Not only are extreme anti-abortion laws threatening to our democracy, they also go against the suggestions of medical professionals. A ban on abortion is only a ban on legal, safe abortions. The World Health Organization reports that 4.7–13.2% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion. 211 women die for every 100,000 pregnancies. The number of deaths as a result of unsafe abortion will only continue to rise if abortion is no longer accessible. The legality of abortion is just one debate being focused on during this election. 

With seemingly constant reports of school shootings, gun control is another hot topic of conversation. There have already been 40 school shootings this year that resulted in death or injury. Many people see this as a time to make a change, to make certain firearms harder to own. Yet, some argue that guns are not the issue here, that the people who commit these acts are to blame. Senators and representatives, both of whom will be elected today, are ultimately the ones responsible for passing laws to make change. And as a voter, you have a say in what happens. 

Staying informed on candidates is the most important part of voting. However, campaign media has more often highlighted the flaws of other candidates rather than the beliefs of the person being promoted. 

For example, Darren Bailey, Republican candidate for Governor, is against abortion. He also wants to reinstate the requirement for teens to gain parental consent for abortions. Yet, much of the media produced by Bailey’s team is about the Illinois law ending cash bail being put into effect if Democrat J.B. Pritzker continues as governor. 

Pritzker has been very outspoken on his stance of keeping abortion legal and safe in Illinois. Pritzker’s social media campaigns, however, rarely address his stance on any other issues, only the one that he and Bailey seem to clash on the most. 

The race for senator between Tammy Duckworth and Kathy Salvi is another example of mud-slinging between Illinois politicians. Salvi’s campaign videos target Duckworth’s policies involving the IRS, while they fail to mention her stance on gun control, which Duckworth is very vocal about. And Duckworth’s campaign commercials target Salvi’s stances on current issues rather than defending her own. 

The best way to stay informed is keeping tabs on debates and staying up to date on articles from reliable sources. It’s best when reading articles to research what beliefs the news platform most aligns with, and keep that in mind while reading.

The political world is messy and may seem complicated, but by voting for lawmakers, you help us get one more step towards sorting out our nation. So, if you are a Conant student who is eligible, please cast your vote. It matters. 

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