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Your Inalienable Right—How Much Does It Mean?

Your Inalienable Right—How Much Does It Mean?

Published on October 11, 1956 

By J. T.

Americans point with pride to their heritage of free elections, but their record of participation in these elections is one of marked indifference and complacency. 

Since 1880 the percentage of the electorate has dropped sharply and dipped to an appalling 51 percent of eligible voters in the 1948 presidential election. This neglect hardly demonstrates to the rest of the world that we cherish this precious right. America is the world’s greatest republic and leading advocate of democracy and free elections, and yet, nearly half of its own people neither appreciate nor exercise their right to vote. 

Mary J. Sherraden, 100 years old, has clerk, Mrs. Harriet Richardson, mark off her name as having voted on June 8, 1954 at Venice Boulevard and Westmoreland. Photo from USC Libraries Special Collections. 

With the growing apathy has come a change of attitude toward voting-even among those who regularly vote. Formerly, voting was considered a privilege and men who could vote, did so willingly. Now however, voting is considered by many as a moral obligation more easily avoided than met. The moral obligation to vote is a part of the civil responsibility we accept as citizens of a free nation, but it should be anticipated as an act of will. When regarded as a burden these obligations cause complacency and a subsequent languishment of good government. 

Thus the answer to the ever mounting and dangerous apathy is to establish a new and positive attitude toward voting. Here is an opportunity for you to voice your opinion for the type of government you wish—a privilege and a right that should be cherished and willingly exercised. 

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Merely to vote, however, is not enough. You should vote intelligently. Inform yourself. Disregard the exaggerated partisan claims and promises of the candidates. Study the issues thoroughly and decide for yourself. Remember also the importance of state and municipal elections. A trip to the polls every four years does not discharge your responsibilities of self-government.  

So, be a good gold feather citizen and exercise your right to vote. Register………. Inform yourself……… Vote. 

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