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Exercising Your Right to Vote

It's probably a safe bet that there are those among us in the Concorde community, busy training for a health care career, who have not yet participated in early voting and are not planning on voting tomorrow. It's been a brutal and nasty presidential campaign. You might be discouraged by both presidential candidates, or you might be one of the many who simply think their votes don't count.

Concorde is encouraging all of its students, faculty, and staff to pull back for a moment from their health care career and exercise their rights as citizens to vote.

Not everyone always had that right

Voting is a right that too many Americans take for granted. It should be noted that for a long time during the history of the United States, not everyone had that right. At the dawn of our country, only white, property-owning men could vote. African-Americans were granted the right to vote in 1870 and still faced great friction in exercising that right until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.

The U.S. didn't allow women to vote until 1920, less than a century ago. The Women's Suffrage Movement fought for that right for nearly 80 years before attaining its ultimate goal. It's easy to forget that many people suffered, even gave their lives, for this one right we hold dear.

We are privileged to live in a democratic, free society. We are privileged to have the right to vote. Just recently, women in Saudi Arabia were allowed for the first time to vote.

Easy today to be informed

Another reason to vote is that, in today's Internet, information society, it's easier than ever to make informed choices. There are so many different ways to learn about candidates. They blanket the airwaves and Internet news sites. There's social media. It's right there at everybody's fingertips. Take the time to learn all you can about your candidates so that you can make an informed choice.

Many people are saying these days, "All the candidates are horrible; there is no good choice," therefore, they're choosing not to exercise their right to vote. Even if you feel there's no good choice, there still is a choice, and it's one we have a duty as a citizen to exercise. These are the people who are making the big decisions impacting our lives for this and future generations.

So get out and exercise your right to vote. Sure, our politicians often do things we don't agree with – and, during election season, those are pointed out to us ad nauseam – but at the end of the day, it is our duty as citizens to let our voices be heard.

Your vote could make a difference in your health care career.