As college students, it can sometimes feel frustrating to learn about world issues and research injustices without any way to feel like we are making an impact and creating change. It almost feels tone deaf and selfish to have to learn about these problems for the sake of an exam or a discussion rather than to use this knowledge to help create a more equitable and kinder world for all. In the place of hopelessness and inaction, let’s replace it with voting: a powerful vessel for empowerment and change.
The students that are currently walking their own college campuses are going to be the next leaders of the world, but for right now, there is a need to represent the young adult generation in policy making. What better way than to put your hard earned education to use than to cast your informed vote on issues and future policy makers that will have an impact on us, no matter how far removed they may seem.
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that it is only one vote and that your singular vote does not matter in the grand scheme of millions of votes, but when the idea of voting is viewed in broad terms, it is ultimately a matter of creating political interest and awareness and mobilizing our generation as a whole to use voting a mode of representation and activism. According to BestColleges, the U.S. has a population of approximately 17 million undergraduates: what would happen if this group felt empowered by their education and by their peers to exercise their right to be heard in a government that is consistently dominated by older generations that do not understand them? This is where true change can occur and will occur if we all step up, cast our vote, and encourage others to do the same.
Of course, being a college student presents its unique barriers to voting. However, it is easier than it may seem at first, which is also a way to highlight how important voting is and how accessibility is prioritized. First of all, students can request absentee ballots that allow them to secure a mail-in vote to vote in the election of their home state. Or, students are also given the option to register to vote in the state of their school (you can only be registered to vote in one state at any given time, however you can change your voter registration to update your residence). And, homeless students can also register to vote as well. In all cases it is important to pay close attention to deadlines and mailing guidelines as they may affect the ability of your vote to be counted in time for the election. Here are some great resources for further questions about individual state policies and deadlines:
Campus Vote Project: https://www.campusvoteproject.org/vote
Voting Resources: https://studentvote.org/voting-resources/
Lastly, schools often have voter registration activism events, Holy Cross SGA holds voter registration events in order to help students register and to promote awareness surrounding political contribution as well.