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Election Day 2016: Will You Be Voting?

Do you have plans on Tuesday, November 8th?

No? Good, because you’ll be voting for the next POTUS, better known as President of the United States.

With the 2016 election approaching in less than two months, we really need to make sure everyone is on board and ready to vote. According to Campus Vote Project, young adults made up 21% of the entire voting population in 2014. The problem: only 17% of those 18 to 24-year-olds actually voted. Here’s what you need to know before you cast your vote.

Registering to Vote

If you don’t register to vote, you will not be able to vote in the election. Period. This first step is the most important one if you wish to have a say in who runs our country. While every state has different rules, most require you to register almost a month in advance. (Hint: the deadline for New Jersey is Tuesday, October 18th!) Just fill out the form online, then mail it to your county’s office. Once you register to vote, you just have to make sure you get to the polls on November 8th! Rock the Vote has the deadlines listed for every state, as well as online application forms and polling locations.  

The Candidates

The Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton. As former Secretary of State, First Lady and Senator of New York, Hillary definitely has the political experience needed to be the next POTUS. The Clinton name has been floating around throughout our country for some time now. Her husband, Bill, was president from 1993-2001 and it seems like she is looking forward to the possibility to calling the White House home again. She doesn’t come without her own scandals, however. The biggest one involves the use of a personal email address regarding private issues while she was Secretary of State.

As for the Republican party, Donald Trump is the candidate. Yup, the same guy you’ve probably seen on The Apprentice saying, “You’re fired,” could quite possibly become the next commander-in-chief. As far as his credentials go, he is a successful businessman known primarily for his work in the real-estate industry, especially regarding his hotels and casinos. Trump has earned a following for being an “outsider” candidate who approaches politics in a blunt, unorthodox way, promising to “Make America Great Again.” Like Clinton, Trump’s campaign has been riddled with scandals from his infamous words on Mexican Immigration, his wife’s apparent plagiarism of a Michelle Obama speech and, most recently, his comments on how “much easier” it was to have a Purple Heart given to him by a veteran than to have been awarded it on merit.

Besides the two major political party candidates, there are also two third-party candidates in the running. From the Libertarian party, Gary Johnson is running and Jill Stein is the candidate for the Green Party. They both also ran for president in the 2012 election. According to Fortune, both Johnson and Stein failed to receive a 15% polling average, meaning they are unable to participate in the first presidential debate on September 26th.

ISideWith.com provides a free quiz that matches your views with those of the candidates. It also shows where each candidate stands regarding the most important issues that our country faces. This quiz is the easiest way to ensure you make an informed decision about who you vote for.

Why Vote?

College students and young adults need to start voting as soon as they can because we are the future of our country. This election is definitely going to be one to remember. While both major party candidates come with their fair share of controversy, one presidential candidate is coming in with no political experience and the other could possibly become the first female president. Regardless, the outcome will be historic one way or another.

Choosing a candidate means deciding on huge issues, like gun control, abortion and immigration. Remember when it seemed like everyone was throwing their support behind Bernie Sanders?

He was appealing to our generation because he proved that he cared about us. He valued our education, attempting to implement a free college tuition program, and in an effort to help the working class, he wanted to raise the minimum wage. In the end, he just couldn’t catch up to Hillary Clinton in the polls and now he is no longer in the running. Could it possibly be because our generation wasn’t voting enough?

We need to fight for what we believe is right. Vote for the person who will lead our country in the right direction and remember, every vote makes a difference.

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Amina is currently a senior at Montclair State University studying communication and journalism. She has a passion for writing, digital media and creating content. When she's not writing, you can probably find her catching up on current events, trying new fitness classes or searching for the next best restaurant. You can view more of her work at aminalake.com.
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