Why you Should Have Been to the Polls This Week
The United States is a representative democracy built on the idea of listening to the people who reside there. This is done through citizens electing their government officials to represent their ideas and concerns. While this month’s election is not the one that draws international attention, it is still vital that people exercise their right to vote. Midterm elections are just as important because the outcome here will affect our country now, as well as the larger elections later on.
It has been shown time and time again that young voters turn out in lower rates than our elders. While the past few elections have shown an increase, I sincerely hope that these coming elections will show just how much our generation actually cares about our future. Our voices are just as important as anyone else’s, and we should be reflecting that in our daily lives and in the polls. The Boomers will be going to the polls, will you?
Before you turn 21, voting is one of the few things that you are legally allowed to do. Regardless of which party your values fall under, you should take the opportunity to vote. The division of ideals in this country is glaringly obvious, but we are at an especially important time in our nation’s history. With a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, there are many long-standing precedents that will likely be coming to light just as Roe v. Wade did. You might not care now, but you will down the road when something affects you personally.
Considering that we have such a large and diverse population, it is surprising that we do not use our numbers more. I understand how insignificant your one vote can feel, but if everyone thinks that way, then there will be a distinct missing chunk that could have made a difference as a whole. Just look at how close elections have been in recent years! Not only that, but young people are in a time that allows for us to be educated voters after a quick Google search. I know that policies can be confusing, and smear campaigns only add to that. However, there are many platforms that help to explain what is happening in clearer terms, such as Vote.org and USA.gov. I urge you to take the initiative to look into them.
If you did not vote in the midterms on November 8th, all is not lost. Take this opportunity to start caring about what is happening around you and prepare for the next set of elections. Living in your college town will likely make it more difficult to figure out where you can vote.
Checking state laws to learn where and when you can vote is a vital part of the process. For example, North Dakota does not require voter registration if you are a resident of the state. If you cannot make it to the polls, you can request an absentee ballot. While it may feel like a tedious process, you can still have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a difference.
If you do not like who is in charge now, or even if you do, it is up to you to make your voice heard. Elected officials are there to serve us, not the other way around. You cannot complain later on if you did not vote at all. I urge you to not only vote but get others to as well.