You've probably heard your parents or their friends talk about voting. Perhaps they discussed particular candidates who were running for office or important issues that affected the way you live.
Many people today think voting is the most important right Americans have. There are many places in the world where people do not have the right to vote. By voting, people can make sure that their opinion is shared with community leaders. If you are a citizen of the United States and eighteen or older, you have the right to vote in local, state and national elections. Voting may not be new to you, though if you have helped to choose officers for a club or school government, you have already exercised your right to vote!
People vote for a number of reasons. They vote to decide how their cities, counties, states and the country should be governed and by whom. Are you attending a new school? Do you play at a new playground? If so, chances are that your parents and neighbors voted on whether to build that school or playground. No matter what the issue, voting gives people a say in how things are to be done.
But one of the biggest political problems in the United States today is the lack of voter turnout. In the 2000 election, just over half the population (51%) voted. As you can see, the people who did not vote were giving up a chance to make a difference!