In my family, the saying “to much who is given, much is expected” is constantly said. Throughout my life, I have been given so much. I’m grateful for everything my family has given me as well as what the University of Notre Dame has provided. Now more than ever, though, I am especially grateful for the opportunity America has given me by allowing me to exercise my right to vote.
The 2016 primary election had a voter turnout rate of only 48.3 percent of college students. Sadly, young voters (aged 18-25) are notoriously known for being the most apathetic when it comes to pracicing our right to vote. Why? Because sometimes, I think we truly forget that our ability to vote is a privilege. A privilege that people fought and died for. A privilege that so many people around the world tragically still don’t have. And a privilege that is a huge responsibility.
This responsibility can feel like a ton of pressure though. And I get that! To alleviate this, I have learned the best way for me to find peace of mind over this power I hold is through taking the time to research each candidate and issue before an election. While this can feel overwhelming at times, check out this organization here I have found helpful that provides information on the political issues candidates are currently debating.
Unfortunately, America has become extremely hyperpolarized. Democrats and Republicans are significantly more distant from each other on major issues today than ever before. Because of this, people often forget that voting should reflect your opinion on political issues, not your opinion on the set of candidates and their party affiliation. Therefore, after researching the popular issues being debated in this election, head over to each candidate's website. There, you will find their platform and will be able to see how they feel about the issues you just researched. By doing this, hopefully you will have an unbiased mindset on who you should vote for. I know that this may seem like a lot of work and as college students, I know how busy you already are. Even though it may seem inconvenient and even unnecessary at times, I promise it is not!
Voting can undeniably seem mundane at times. But the fact that we do get to think of it as boring is part of our privilege. Former President Barack Obama once said that “you don’t have any right to complain about stuff if you didn’t try to make an effort to move it in a better direction.” Things in America undeniably need to change. While we might not be able to agree on what needs to change, regardless of this I know we can all agree that change is needed. But this cannot happen without our generation choosing to vote. So, make the decision to vote. And actually follow through with it.
The results of this election will undoubtedly reshape American politics. Choose to be a part of the force for change. Participate. Regardless of what people might say: your vote does matter.
Now that I have hopefully convinced you to vote, let’s take a second to ask the important question: are you registered to vote? If not, remedy that by clicking here to register. The process is ridiculously easy and takes little to no time. After you do that, head over here and request an absentee ballot. Like registering, the process is so, so simple. Now that that’s settled, pat yourself on the back and acknowledge that soon, your voice is going to be heard and directly impact the future of America. Isn’t that pretty incredible?