Your Vote Matters

Melanie McKelvey, News Editor

As the calendar creeps closer and closer to November 3rd, more and more pressure is mounting on the younger population to go out and vote.

In the 2016 presidential election, only 46.1% of people aged 18 to 29 showed up to the polls to vote. While those numbers could definitely be worse, they could most certainly be better. It’s up to us to improve them.

As I discussed in my previous article about young voters, it’s difficult to get excited about voting when none of the candidates are very appealing. It’s even worse when few of the presidential candidates act presidential. 

Consider the most recent Democratic debate. Calling it a “Democratic Presidential Debate” was a stretch. If it were up to me,I’d title it “The Roast of Michael Bloomberg.”

Many young people don’t vote because they claim that their vote doesn’t matter. Which is somewhat understandable, especially when your chosen candidate doesn’t win. But they are ultimately incorrect.

You think your vote doesn’t matter? Think again.

In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush won the election when he won the state of Florida by only 537 votes. Considering the millions of votes volunteers had to count, 537 votes is an incredibly thin margin. If those 537 people hadn’t made the time in their days to vote for their candidates, then George W. Bush wouldn’t have won the election.

As such, when you have a candidate that you really truly believe in, you should most definitely go out to vote for them. 

Of course, that leads into the next reason fewer young people are voting: apathy.

A vast majority of the issues being tackled by democratic candidates are issues that will seriously affect our generation, such as the cost of college, student loan debt forgiveness, the minimum wage, gun control, and many other topics.

So, one would hope that young people would be slightly more interested in voting. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case as of right now. 

For every teenager or millennial that’s passionate about voting, there’s at least two that couldn’t care less. Which is ridiculous. Especially considering the essential topics being debated by the candidates.

It’s not even that difficult to register to vote. There are forms available at the library, at the DMV, there’s even online voter registration. It only takes a few minutes! On top of that, you don’t have to be eighteen to register; you can go ahead and register so you’ll be ready to vote on your eighteenth birthday. 

Most importantly, you have to be registered to vote by October 5th, 2020, in order to be able to vote in the general election on November 3rd.

Last but most definitely not least, voting is an amazing right guaranteed to us by our nation’s constitution – we should be proud to vote. Even right as we speak, there are people in other countries fighting for democracy. Think of the Hong Kong riots that dominated the media in 2019. Even now, they’re still fighting for freedom.

And that’s not even to mention all of the people who died in our country fighting for the right to vote. Impoverished men. African Americans. Women. We should honor their sacrifices by using the power they fought to ensure for us.

But in the end, the most important thing to remember is this: we are in the midst of a very serious and intense time in our nation’s history, a time that will be remembered and talked about for generations to come. 

Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, a militant follower of politics or a casual observer, your decisions now will go on to impact your nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren, every generation that will come after you.

It’s up to you to make a change for them.

A change that you believe in.