Why You Should Register To Vote!

Voting is just one way of many ways to be politically active, but comparatively less young people (ages 18-29) show up to vote than any other age group! Even with increased young voter participation in 2018, the turnout rate for this age group is only a little more than half that of the 65+ age group. Last year, I had the opportunity to register voters. It taught me how easy it was to register to vote, and also how to be an informed voter. 


If you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 18, you are able to vote in elections big and small. Some states allow you to register to vote when you get your driver’s license, but in many, you will need to complete registration online or by mail. It is a simple process though that only took me about 15 minutes.


If you are living on campus, you have the option of voting by absentee ballot or registering as a voter from your college residence. I chose to register here at Lafayette because Pennsylvania is a swing state. So by voting here, I feel my vote has a bigger impact than it would in my home state. Other people prefer voting via absentee ballots because they want to stay involved in their hometown local politics. 


To register to vote, or to check your registration status, I recommend checking out the website Turbovote. It walks you through each step of the process. If you are registering to vote in a state where you are not a permanent resident, you will need to mail in your registration. The majority of the application can be filled out online though, and Turbovote will show you how to mail in the final form. 


When registering to vote, you can select a political party you want to vote for. If you think you are open to voting for members of several parties, I recommend registering as an Independent, or selecting “none”. 


If you want help with the process of registering to vote, clubs on campus typically hold voter registration events in the months or weeks leading up to a big election, typically in Farinon. Last year, I helped register voters, and myself, with the Policy in Action club. We had a lot of success, and registered dozens of new voters! 


It is important that you understand your own beliefs while choosing candidates you support. It can sometimes feel like during an election, party platforms and their ads simply villainize their opponents. If you are looking for articles to see things from multiple political perspectives, check out  AllSides. This website has helped me to learn about which sources are biased, and allowed me to read multiple viewpoints on the same event to be able to form my own opinion. Another resource to see how your beliefs align with those of candidates is I Side With. With the 2020 Presidential elections rapidly approaching, use these resources to make sure you are ready to vote! In the meantime, you can also watch Presidential debates, or listen to podcast interviews with the candidates. 


I believe that if more people knew how easy it was to register to vote, we could increase the voter turnout rates among young adults. This generation has led impressive activist movements on gun violence, environmental issues, and more. Voting is one of the best ways to ensure that your voice is heard!