CJ Marra posing for a photo dressed in his Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Uniform.

By Jasmine Haroun

CJ Marra, 16, is the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 11 in Brandon and is working hard to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Earning Eagle is one of the highest accomplishments in Scouting and only one of four scouts will obtain the ranking.

He first started Scouting because he wanted something fun to do with his time. After years of being in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, he is very proud to be earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Every Eagle Scout I’ve met has always been very knowledgeable, helpful and kind. That’s what I strive to be as an incoming Eagle Scout,” said Marra.

In the process of becoming an Eagle Scout, Marra must earn his communications merit badge. To do this, he needed to write to his local newspaper about a topic or issue of his choice.

The topic he chose was voting. Marra has always had a passion for politics, history, civics and the Constitution. It is his ambition to become a lawyer in the Air Force and then later go into politics.

On Marra’s 16th birthday, he went to the tax collector’s office to pick up his driver’s license. They asked him if he wanted to preregister to vote in the 2020 election and he jumped at the opportunity. Later that day, he was telling some of his friends about how he was now preregistered to vote and was saddened to find out how many of his friends did not want to vote when they are older.

One of the most common reasons young people do not want to vote is because they believe their vote does not count for anything. However, every vote is important and by not voting, people are giving away their valuable right to influence the government as a whole.

Additionally, voting is not without its numerous benefits. It leaves voters with active citizenship, stronger social connections and the personal satisfaction of knowing that at least they did something to voice their opinions.

Marra said that if possible, people should vote as it only takes 5-10 minutes and now you can even vote by mail or preregister to vote so that as soon as they turn 18 they are ready to have their voices heard.

“Voting is a great privilege that not everyone in the world is able to do, and I believe that Americans, as a whole, take this for granted, along with many other privileges we have,” said Marra.

For more information, please visit www.votehillsborough.org/VOTERS/Registering-to-Vote to register to vote in Hillsborough County.