Social Change and Voting

Voting is socially meaningful when we think and consider what it really means. defines vote as: a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual or body of individuals. Much social change has come about in the United States through voting. Voting rights have changed from inception of the country to present day. Minorities such as African Americans, Native Americans and Mexicans are now free to vote. This was not the case for most of the two-hundred plus years of existence of the United States. Even women were not allowed to vote until 1920. The 19th Amendment (which states that — The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex) allowed women the right to vote. And those who voted had to be literate. The Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned literacy tests and provided federal enforcement of voting. And it was not until 1975 that Mexican Americans received the right to vote.

My affectively based attitude (emotions and values) had been to believe that it did not really matter if I voted because the same “powerful” people are in control and regardless of my opinion or vote they would always be in charge. My internal justification brought my attitude to concur with my behavior (not voting). Needless to say I held a number of negative beliefs. Since we can have good feelings about something in spite of having negative beliefs, I have changed my attitude towards voting.  My modified view is that if I don’t participate in the voting privilege, then I should not have the right to complain. I still hold a belief about powers that be, but I am more positive (less distrusting) than I used to be and my behavior has changed where I vote and advocate voting to promote social change to others.

Every vote is important. One may say or argue that one vote does not make any difference. Perhaps, but that is not a good reason not to vote. Whether we like it or not, politicians influence a whole range of items in our lives. Political influences how our children are educated, the taxes we pay and the services that we receive. Even clean air and water is influenced by politicians. Down to how the way our towns look and ultimately the way we feel about each other. Voting is very important and our responsibility because we owe it as a matter of morality to the men and women who sacrificed (even their lives) for our benefit. Voting is rewarding because it is a formal expression of opinion or choice and provides us with sense of something bigger than ourselves. Voting today can have a permanent and lasting impact on future generations. Votes made today can impact the quality of life of our children, grandchildren and generations to come. We can’t afford not to vote.



1 comment

  1. Since turning 18 almost a decade ago, it is interesting to reflect on my last ten years of voting behavior. While I have voted in every presidential election, I can’t say the same for local elections. However, I need to make a change! Local and state government officials and policies change the way we live our daily lives in the environment closest to home.

    I understand why many individuals have developed cynical ideas concerning elections. I was personally offended when I heard that many celebrities backing the Rock the Vote campaign didn’t actually vote when the time came. The worst offender being Paris Hilton, who was a spokesperson for the campaign but ultimately forgot to register. Rock the Vote, founded in 1990, recovered from that embarrassment and is still working to influence the young voter to make informed choices in local, state, and national elections. Surprisingly, this group has done a large amount of social change research to learn about the youth demographic, promoting enhanced involvement. One study conducted by RTV tested how influential text messaging was in registration and early voting. Results indicated that sending a text message out the day before the election was most effective in increasing youth turnout at the polls (RTV, 2008).

    Technology and other trends in communication will continue to enhance the youth vote in the years to come. It has proven to be an effective method when shifting the culture of voting from something that middle-aged people do to something cool and powerful, available to us all.


    Rock The Vote (2008). Text Message Experiments in 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from

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