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Now is Not the Time to Get Cynical About Politics

A mere glance at the day’s major headlines can feel like an agonizing punch to the stomach. The 24-hour news cycle, constant lies spewed from those in power, and the escalating confusion and chaos are all reasonable excuses to feel exhausted by our political climate. Yet, we must acknowledge that becoming disillusioned about politics is only to our detriment. We cannot fall prey to those who want us to become disengaged and withdrawn from who is running for elected positions and what potential laws are on the ballot. Actual change does not come in the form of witty Tweets or Instagram stories, but rather by educating ourselves on becoming active members of our democracy.

As a first-time voter, my generation–generation Z–has a unique perspective on the most pressing issues America faces, and now is the time to share and act on those lived experiences. From being born just a year after 9/11, growing up with constant mass shooter drills, watching politicians scoff at the legitimacy of climate change while my home state battles wildfires, and now living through a global pandemic, I have a sense of urgency to be an active participant of our nation’s democratic processes. Whether it be gun control, racial justice, or environmental awareness, the issues that matter to the youth have a chance to be addressed. Staying silent and complacent will only uphold the status quo of inaction and inefficiency that currently plagues our governments, whether it be locally or nationwide.  

Around 24 million 18-24-year-olds will be eligible to vote this November. We have political power, but only if we claim it; however, voter suppression is in full force this year. Confusing voter ID laws, registration deadlines, voter purges, gerrymandering, and unofficial ballot drop boxes are just a few examples of this ongoing effort to decrease voter turnout. 

Here is how you can make your voice count:

 

1. Register to vote and check your registration status

Voter registration age requirements by state: https://www.usa.gov/voter-registration-age-requirements

Link to register to vote: https://vote.gov

Checking your voter registration status is a must, because many states purge voters if they are inactive!

Click the link:  https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration

Voter Registration Deadlines: https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/

 

2. Check what is going to be on your ballot

Your local governments have a more direct effect on your community as opposed to the national government. If you need help researching what Judges you want to vote for or what propositions will be on your ballot, check out Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia is a nonprofit and nonpartisan online resource that covers national, state, and local politics. Get informed about who the next District Attorney or U.S Representative of your state could be!

 

3. Become a Poll Worker!

In the 2018 general election, around six-in-ten U.S. poll workers (58%) were ages 61 and older, including 27% who were over 70. It is typically difficult to recruit poll workers, and the risks faced by the elderly due to COVID-19 has made it even worse. Poll workers are crucial to ensuring that people are able to vote and you can help be a part of that mission. 

Sign up here: https://www.powerthepolls.org

 

Partaking in politics is a must for this generation. We cannot and should not take for granted the right to vote. Although it may seem unimaginable, it is crucial to stay engaged despite the level of insanity in our current political sphere. We simply do not have another choice.

Juhi Doshi is a freshman at Chapman University studying Political Science and Journalism. Juhi also currently writes for her university’s newspaper, The Panther, as the assistant news editor. Juhi is the assistant editor of the Her Campus Chapman chapter. Additionally, her work has appeared in Now Simplified, The Cramm, 60 Seconds Magazine, and Brown Girl Magazine. She has experience working in a District Office for a California Assemblyman, counseling high-school students with mental health issues, and teaching young girls a classical Indian dance form known as “Bharatanatyam.” Juhi has a passion for all forms of journalism—-broadcast, print, digital, and photojournalism. She is profoundly interested in political science and hopes to eventually work as a national political correspondent for a major news outlet.
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