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Culture > News

How Politics Affect You: Voting

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

College students have a lot going on. And even though you may feel like this…

There is one more thing you have to do, vote!

See, even the one and only beautiful Mark Ruffalo thinks so. He is not, however, the only reason you should vote in the upcoming general election. Young voters (aged 18 to 29) make up around a fifth of the eligible voting population, and even though we have such potential to impact elections, youth voter turnout is abysmal. But, you can make a difference.

So, if you don’t really know where to start, below is a guide to figuring it out.

First and foremost, register to vote, if you are not already registered. The most important part of registering is determining where you want to do it, whether it will be New York or your home state.

Here are some things you need to consider before you choose:

  • Local issues: If some problems are more or less important to you, you can choose in which state the issues exist or will be heard.
  • Swing states status: You may feel that your home state gives more value to your vote than New York does.
  • Ease of absentee voting: If your home-state makes it difficult to get an absentee ballot than you may prefer to register in New York. Make sure to check your state’s absentee ballot rules.
  • Post-graduation plans: If you’re planning on staying here after graduation or going home, it makes sense to register where you think you’ll want to be.

If you’re not sure if you’re already registered, it’s easy to check your registration status online. You can also change your registration by contacting the election office in the state you are registered in.

If you want to register for the first time, you can do that online, too.

If you are registered in your hometown, request an absentee ballot based on what state you’re from.

If you are registered here, find out your polling place.

Before you go to your polling place, make sure you set aside a few hours because the stations can often be busy. It is important to have your ID and to look at a practice ballot. People also find it helpful to have their votes written down, so nothing is forgotten.

Now that you know how to vote, here are some important resources you can use to make an educated decision during the upcoming election:

Official Republican Party Website

Official Democratic Party Website

Official Green Party Website

Democratic Socialists of America Website

Community Party USA Website

Official Libertarian Party Website

Unbiased Website for All Voters

Nonpartisan, Nonprofit to Crosscheck Accuracy

So make your voice heard, and go out and vote!