Registered to vote? Then why not actually vote?

Each week, The Beacon’s editorial board will take a stance on a current issue.

We are calling you out.

The “you” in this case would apply to folks who are registered to vote, but fail to follow through on actually voting, particularly those between the ages of 18-29.

“Those who are youngest are less likely to actually vote. Dr. Thomas Baldino, a Wilkes political science professor, said. “Of all of the age cohorts, the 18-24, or 18-29 demographic depending on polling. That age cohort is the least likely to vote.”

Registered to vote? That’s great, but what about actually voting?

The 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution states: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

Wow. 1992, when the amendment was passed, cannot be that long ago can it?

It’s really not.

Everyone has seen the constant advertisements and PSAs to go out and vote. Facebook and Twitter both have voter registration campaigns on their platforms. Commercials on television urge viewers to get out and run to the polls. MTV’s classic ‘Rock the Vote’ campaign was in full-swing this election season. So why aren’t people voting?

According to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of State, 6,115,402 people voted in the 2016 election, but ​8,722,977 people were registered to vote.

That’s 2.6 million people who didn’t vote.

2.6 million votes which would have counted, and could have made a huge difference in the turnout.

Baldino said that he expects a drop in today’s midterm elections, predicting it to drop “precipitously.”

“I do not anticipate a very high turnout,” Baldino said. “Despite all of the talk, all of the increased in registration and requests for absentee ballots, there’s generally a decline between those who say they are going to vote and then those that actually do.”

Some people believe that voting doesn’t make a difference. That one vote doesn’t make a difference in the long-run. That simply isn’t true.

To look at an extreme example, the 2000 election of George W. Bush vs. Al Gore was such a close call, the votes needed to be counted by hand. Even if such extreme cases didn’t exist, a vote is still a vote. Votes eventually add up to a winner.

“I can’t emphasize it enough,” Baldino said. “Turnout is important in almost every election but it just seems that this particular year, given what happened in 2016, where the president won the electoral college vote, but didn’t win the popular vote, it’s focused on more.”

Another reason people don’t vote is because they feel they don’t care about politics. Barack Obama said in an ATTN video on Oct. 17 in response to this reason: “Look, I don’t care about Pokemon, but that doesn’t mean it won’t keep coming back.”

Other people think they don’t know enough about politics to vote. A voter does not have be an expert in politics to make a decision.

In fact, the political party system is set up so people have a general idea what a candidate believes in without even needing a little research.

While it is always a good idea to know who or what you are voting for, a voter does not need to know every fact about a candidate to make a choice.

We aren’t asking you to vote for a specific party or candidate. We aren’t even asking you to help campaign or be politically vocal (although you should), we just want you to get out there and vote.

The next time you take to social media to complain about something, think about the last time you voted.