Why It's Important To Vote

As November rapidly approaches, you’re probably starting to see more and more hubbub about voting. My instagram feed is filled with celebrities encouraging their fans to exercise their civic duty. Even Taylor Swift, who has long remained silent on political issues, urged her followers to vote.

Whether or not you think celebrities should serve as political mouthpieces, it’s important that our society encourages citizens to vote. Sometimes, as a college student, it’s easy to feel detached from the rest of the world. Here on campus, we tend to live in a bubble and can forget about participating in the outside world. But voting is no small matter, especially for women.

Activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony fought long and hard for women’s suffrage. The 19th amendment was only passed in 1920. That might seem like a long time ago, it was our grandparents or even great grandparents’ generation, after all. But, men have had the right to vote for almost three times as long!

Regardless of gender, voting is the only way a constituent can directly inform their representatives of their values and opinions. Elections are the mechanism on which American democracy thrives. Even so, voter turnout is quite low. Only 55 percent of the eligible voting population in the U.S. voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to Pew Research. The turnout for midterm elections is much lower, hovering somewhere around 40 percent.

Not to mention the fact that the under-30 demographic is the least likely to participate in midterm elections, despite making up a majority of the electorate. Voter registration means nothing if you do not turn out to vote. So why don’t we? There are multiple theories. Many millennials do not think that voting in midterms is important or they believe their votes do not matter. So, even if they do not approve of the current political administration, they do not utilize the mechanism to express this sentiment. Many millennials are also students or working in jobs that are either inflexible or do not pay high salaries (or both) which makes it more challenging to get out to the polls.

Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves and to our fellow Americans to vote. Not only is voting a great privilege, but the upcoming election offers the opportunity to completely change the political landscape of the country. It will serve as a referendum on the president and current administration. No matter your political views, your vote counts. You can be an advocate for the policy changes you wish to see.

If you have not yet voted, either by absentee ballot or early voting, it is not too late to do so in most states. Vote.org provides a state-specific absentee ballot deadline list. If you are able to mail in an absentee ballot before the deadline specified, you can obtain an absentee ballot from your state government website or from the U.S. Vote Foundation’s absentee ballot system (the first-ever system to offer absentee ballots for all states).

Voting is one of the easiest ways to participate in American politics. Make sure your voice is heard this November.

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