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For many college students, the 2020 election will be the first presidential election they are eligible to vote in. This is both scary and exciting. For the first time in our lives, we have the chance to participate in the decision regarding who runs our country. We no longer have to watch as our elders choose who will govern our country in the future.

Growing up, the ages 18 and 21 always seemed like the biggest milestones to me. When you turn 18 you can vote, and when you turn 21 you can drink alcohol. So, upon turning 18, I went online and registered to vote. I suppose it was naive of me to believe people all over the country did the same. When I came to college I realized many college students don’t think they need to vote. Some students don’t know the difference between the democratic and republican parties, and some students aren’t even sure who is running for president in the 2020 election. I wonder how this it’s possible for a generation that is so engaged in social media to be so oblivious to one of the most important elections that we will participate in. 

In the 2016 presidential election, only 46% of millennials cast a vote. This is the lowest voter turnout based on age. The highest voter turnout in the 2016 election was from people aged 65+ with a 70% turnout. According to NPR, millennials make up 31% of the electorate vote. This means that by voting, millennials have immense power to make a difference in this year's elections. Climate change, women’s reproductive rights, gun control, and accessible healthcare are just some of the issues at stake in this election.

Given all of this information, I encourage every college-aged student to register to vote, request your absentee ballot if you’re unable to vote in person, ask your friends if they are prepared to vote, and most importantly educate yourself. Make up your own mind about what you want in the future and where your values lie. Don’t ask your parents who they’re voting for, and don’t blindly choose someone based on what your friends say. Go online, research the candidates, and cast an informed vote. To make this a little easier, I will link some helpful and informative websites below. Happy voting!

 

The candidate’s websites:

  • Donald Trump: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/

 

Register to vote (takes 2 minutes!):

Request your absentee ballot (takes 2 minutes!):

Deadlines to register to vote by state:

Deadlines to request an absentee ballot by state:

 

Sources:

Bureau, US Census. “Voting Rates by Age.” The United States Census Bureau, 18 July 2020, www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2017/comm/voting-rates-age.html. 

Khalid, Asma. “Millennials Now Rival Boomers As A Political Force, But Will They Actually Vote?” NPR, NPR, 16 May 2016, www.npr.org/2016/05/16/478237882/millennials-now-rival-boomers-as-a-poli...

 

Jane Grandchamp is a senior at the University of Tampa. She is majoring in advertising and public relations, and minoring in international studies. She loves playing volleyball and going to the beach with her friends.
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