Voting Is Your Responsibility

Whenever I tell people about upcoming elections, especially my fellow millennials, most of them don’t even know that there is a state or local election going on where they live. This scares me, especially when we are under the authoritarian style leadership of Trump. There has been no better time to exercise your right to vote than right now.

46.9% of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 election. It is likely that the people who are complaining about Trump are people who didn’t even bother to vote in the election. That fact continues to blow my mind. How could you decide, on the day of one of the most significant, chaotic, pivotal elections of our lifetime, to sit on the sidelines?

Voting is not just a right were given, it’s one of the most important responsibilities we have as citizens. We the people are the ones who decide who will make crucial determinations about our health-care, reproductive rights, economy, civil rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and so many more issues that affect our personal lives each and every day.

Do you feel as if your vote doesn’t matter? Because it ABSOLUTELY does. Your voice and opinions are what will incite change and progress to occur in all areas of the government. A lot of times elections come down to a few thousand votes, so your vote can make a difference.

Do you feel disillusioned by the system? If you feel that way, then I’m sorry. Politics can be dirty. But if you want the system to speak for you, voting is the best way to do that. If you want a fairer, more equal, and inclusive country, voting is the best way to voice that goal.

Do you not like any of the candidates? This was a huge problem in the last presidential election. If you don’t like any of the candidates, write-in one you feel would be better. It may not seem like it would make an impact, but trust me, it will. This will draw attention to certain candidates that the citizens of the United States should be focusing on more in the future.

If you don’t know a lot about the candidates, how to register, or how to send in an absentee ballot, I will help you with that right now.

You can go to: https://www.usa.gov/election-office to find out about elections coming up where you live. It will lead you to information on how to register to vote and send an absentee ballot.

There are two gubernatorial (governor’s) elections coming up in two states that a lot of Muhlenberg students reside in: New Jersey and (my home state) of Virginia.

These are the first major elections during Trump’s presidency. We will decide our leaders for two major electorate states and two of the most populated, influential states in our country. If you’re a resident or registered voter in New Jersey or Virginia, it is crucial that you make it to the polls or mail in your ballot this November.

Below is information on how to register, send an absentee ballot, about the candidates, and more.

NEW JERSEY

How to register: http://www.njelections.org/voting-information.html

How to request an absentee ballot: http://www.njelections.org/voting-information-vote-by-mail.html

Information on major candidates:

Phil Murphy (D) running for governor https://www.murphy4nj.com/

Kim Guadagno (R) running for governor http://www.kimfornj.com/

More general information on candidates: https://ballotpedia.org/New_Jersey_gubernatorial_and_lieutenant_gubernatorial_election,_2017

VIRGINIA

How to register: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/Registration/Eligibility

How to request an absentee ballot: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html

Information on major candidates:

Ralph Northam (D) running for governor https://ralphnortham.com/

Ed Gillespie (R) running for governor https://edforvirginia.com/

More general information on candidates:

https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia_gubernatorial_election,_2017

If you’re interested in joining Muhlenberg’s political advocacy and engagement group, BergVotes, you can go their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BergVotes/ or their Twitter page https://twitter.com/BergVotes