Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said, "The government you elect is the government you deserve."
On this, we must disagree with the third president of the United States.
To be fair, during Jefferson's time, voter turnout was much greater because so few Americans had the right to vote. Choosing leadership was a job left to white, land-owning males.
As the country progressed, non-land-owners gained voting privileges, then Blacks, then women. In 1970, the Voting Rights Act lowered the voting age to 18, providing even more diversity to the potential pool of voters.
More have the right to vote now, and our elections have a history of low turnout in the last several decades. Facttank.com found the United States trails most developed countries in voter turnout.
It seems as though making voting available to more people has lowered its allure.
But that's not the case.
Research by GlobalCitizen.com found most want to vote, but many encounter barriers to voting — from limited early voting to ID restrictions — because they are people of color.
The website also found because Election Day falls on a work day, they miss the opportunity to vote, especially in states where early voting isn't offered. Other reasons include candidates failing to represent their views and believing their votes don't matter.
We do not get the government we deserve if voter turnout is low.
It's easy to believe one little vote is lost in the millions of ballots cast. But that is not the case.
In a world of high voter turnout, it's much more likely we get the government we deserve because the result of the election is a greater indicator of what citizens are thinking.
However, when few people vote — that includes when few people are allowed to vote — the election results reflect the beliefs of only a portion of the population.
The United States must make every effort to keep voting accessible to qualified voters and to encourage everyone to vote.
Individuals must make every effort to vote. Each of us has a single voice, but when we put our voices together, we see results.
We need the government we deserve, not the government our neighbor chooses for us.