Election Series Part 4: To Vote Or Not To Vote?

October 19, 2018

If you’re a Xyza reader, we’re going to venture a guess that, even though you might be interested in the elections, you’re not eligible to vote. Of course, what we’re assuming here is that you’re under eighteen, the legal voting age in the United States. But voting rights aren’t just about age—women were not allowed to vote until 1920, and it wasn’t until 1965 that African Americans were allowed to vote.

So you might be surprised that not everyone over age eighteen can vote in the United States. Sure, in order to legally vote, you have to be a US citizen, at least eighteen years of age, and a current resident of the state you are voting in. But did you know prisoners are not allowed to vote? That’s right. Unless they have completed their sentence, prisoners—who are also legal citizens—are not allowed to vote in elections. In fact, in some states such as Florida, prisoners aren’t allowed to vote even if they have completed their prison sentences. In these states, special approval is required for ex-prisoners to vote.

Know who else can’t vote? Residents of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—all of which are US territories! In addition, anyone who is legally permitted to live in the US but isn’t a US citizen is banned from voting.

Voting is powerful and not everyone gets the right and privilege to do it. Why do you think prisoners are fighting for the right to vote? Why do you think celebrities are speaking up to get out the vote? Voting is your chance to speak up. Experts who study voting trends are predicting that voter turnout for this midterm election will be exceptionally high. Why? Because not since the 1960s have people been so fired up about what’s going on with the country.

So want a piece of advice from your pals at Xyza? When you’re eligible to vote, do it and get your voices heard!