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Why is it important to vote in local, state, and federal elections?

You can't win if you don't play. Election outcomes are determined by those who participate. Elected officials make important (often life and death) decisions about how our society will expend its collective resources and the restraints it will place on individual behavior. The drinking age, the age at which you can get a driver's license, and the amount of money your teachers receive are some of the decisions made by elected officials. In making those decisions, elected officials respond to people who bother to vote more than to those who abstain. Voting does not guarantee that one's preferences will prevail, but choosing not to vote denies a person one of they key tools of having a say in a democracy.

-- Steve Frantzich, Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy