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Dear First Time Voters,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you know that our nation is approaching the 2020 election. With candidates dropping out of the race left and right and the primary election nearly upon us, it’s a very stressful time to be a voter. If you’re anything like me, and the results of the 2016 election still haunt you, it can be difficult to talk politics with the people in your life, especially since many are not feeling optimistic about the upcoming election. 

Waking up the day after the 2016 election was like a bad dream for me, made even worse by the fact that I felt so strongly about the issues being debated but was underage when the voting took place. I was frustrated that I, as an American woman, was not being advocated for by the elected administration and basic rights like access to birth control and other medical procedures were threatened. In light of that frustration, I made a point of becoming a registered voter when I turned 18 and since 2016 have been looking forward to voting in my first presidential election, especially one that is bound to make history, one way or another.

As excited as I am about being able to freely vote for my candidate of choice, it’s hard not to be discouraged by what media outlets are saying about the election daily, if not hourly. Headlines telling me that the re-election of the current administration is inevitable and that certain candidates are only going to lose if given the primary nomination make it very difficult to feel motivated to cast my vote this November. If any of this hits home with you, young voter, then read on.

I feel that I was always taught that what makes America great (no pun intended) was our unique system of voting for leaders that allowed each citizen to equally share their perspective on who they believed would be the best leader for our country. It seems that ideal has been lost in the past couple of elections, and people would rather grumble about both the inevitability and impossibility of various candidates winning. Well, I find that type of talk to be demoralizing and anxiety-inducing – no one wants to hear that their favorite candidate is definitely going to lose and their least favorite candidate is an inevitable win. Instead, I’ve decided to remind myself that I can choose to go into this election optimistic. Rather than feeling my vote might not count in the long run, I’m going to support a candidate that I believe in – whether or not I think they can win. Ultimately, I want to come out of the election confident in the fact that I stayed true to who I believe can be a strong President and not feeling like I made a weak choice because of external stressors. With enough votes, anyone can win the election and our country has been known to make historical decisions, both good and bad. 

So during the primaries and election this November, remember to tune out the headlines telling you what’s what and how the future is going to be. We all have the power to shape America to be the best it can be and everyone’s vote matters. So why not be optimistic?

All the best,

A First Time Voter

 

Charlotte Krause is a senior studying to receive her bachelor’s in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at MSU. Her written works range from pieces on popular culture, including film reviews and curated recommendations, to articles about mental health and politics. Charlotte avidly believes that written works have the power to shape and create new lives, worlds, and identities and plans to continue contributing to the global cacophony of written works. Follow me @char_kra on Instagram!
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