By Clare Myers, Staff Writer
Much has been made of the right to vote. It is fundamental to a democracy and was an important development in the evolution of the United States.
It was a long struggle for women in the Suffragist movement who battled for years to seek passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Its passage in 1920 guaranteed that “the right to vote cannot be banned because of sex.”
These rights were guaranteed only after the struggle of untold numbers of men and women and have a special significance today as the presidential election approaches. Numerous campaigns have been launched to encourage citizens, especially young people, to exercise their right to vote.
Many Catholics see participation in the political process as an important outlet to express their faith. While many approach the right to vote as a way to affect the country politically, others see it as a requirement to help implement policies that are considered moral and good.
The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, in a statement aimed at its parishioners, said, “Catholics have the same rights and duties as others to participate fully in public life.”
The document encouraged the faithful to take part in the political process according to their consciences “in the light of their Catholic faith.”
The council cited social problems such as abortion, the current economic crisis and a flawed immigration system as issues that raise grave moral questions. Although neither the Catholic Church nor the council itself endorses a particular political party or candidate, both urge citizens to use moral guidelines when voting.
Many University of Dallas students believe that voting in the upcoming election is essential to promoting moral principles.
“As Catholics living in America, we have a duty to vote our morality and how our consciences tells us,” senior Matt Quinn said. “If we don’t we’re allowing evil to flourish.”
Another student, freshman Kaitlyn Lisser, said everybody should vote. “That’s why we have democracy in the first place … you want what’s best for people; by
putting your opinion in at least you have that say [in the political process],” she said.
Some students choose not to vote if they do not know enough about the candidates to cast a ballot in good conscience.
“I don’t have an opinion,” said freshman Antonella Scarfullery, explaining that she simply was not informed enough. But others said they could not justify voting for a candidate whose views do not match their own code of ethics.
“[The two candidates] are two sides of the same coin,” senior David Janicki said. “I don’t really see a big difference [between them.]”
Others simply do not believe that voting is the best way to affect the country’s politics. University News commentary editor Daniel Orazio encouraged voters to participate in politics in other ways, such as signing petitions and serving on juries.
Senior Olivia Bach said that voting is only important if one is extremely passionate about an issue. “Then it becomes an ethical issue,” she said, adding that personally, she cares little about politics. Bach said that others might not understand her political apathy.
“My family will kill me when they find out I’m not voting,” she said.