Registering Wasn't Enough—Now Go Vote!

The past couple of weeks, students all over UCF’s campus have been registering to vote. Tables outside the Student Union, tailgating events and even some classes have had those people with the clipboards begging students to register. If you registered recently or even years ago, great! Way to go! You are on the right path. However, signing up wasn’t enough—now you need to go vote.

I know the common excuses:

“My vote doesn’t really matter.”

“It won’t make a difference.”

“It’s not a big deal one way or another.”

“It’s too much work.”

You’re wrong. Because out there, thousands of people are saying the same thing as you.

Think about it this way. Young people account for about half of the current voters. If every single young person who thought their vote “didn’t count” went out and voted this November, it could very easily be the difference between one person being elected over another. It would change which amendments are passed or not. That’s the great thing about elections: the more people that band together to vote, the more likely it is that your candidate will be elected and your amendments are passed.

Thankfully, every single person is entitled to their own opinion. Whether you lean left or right; believe this country is being run perfectly or horrendously; want change or want everything to stay exactly the same; you are allowed to not only express that to others but also get to vote on it! You get to help choose the way this country is run by simply submitting a ballot with who you believe should be running our government and what laws should be passed. The United States is a melting pot of millions of people, each with their own ideas for how everything should be done. Great! Now vote for someone that you believe will ensure your voice is heard.

Don't worry if you don't know who or what you're voting for. There are plenty of online resources that can give you a break down of all the amendments and the people running for the different positions. Download a sample ballot, do your research ahead of time, and bring the sample ballot to the polls so you don’t need to memorize everything you’re voting on. You don’t have to worry about forgetting all your research.

What's something you're passionate about? Find a candidate that fights for what you believe in. There has to be at least one topic that you have strong opinions about. Whether it be the gun control debate, the way we treat the environment or even just the public school system, find the candidate that will express and fight for your interests. That’s the whole point of elected officials: making the decisions that their citizens tell them to. If you go out and vote for someone who advocates for gun reform and they win, you will be guaranteed that they will do everything in their power to ensure there is progress in the battle for gun reform. That is their job. And the best part about voting is that if someone isn’t doing their job, citizens can vote them out the next time they’re up for re-election.

Voting is so easy too! Don’t make excuses. If you can’t get out to the polls on November 6th, bring the polls to you. One way to do this is by voting early. Early voting started on October 22nd. Every day from October 22–November 4 (that’s 14 days everyone, surely you can find 15 minutes to go vote), 9 a.m.–7 p.m., you can vote right on UCF’s campus in Live Oak Event Center in Ferrell Commons. (This is only applicable if you are registered to vote in Orange County. If not, check out your county’s website to find out where you can go to vote early!)  And if even this doesn’t work for you, mail-in ballots exist! Visit https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/ to get one. Voting on Election Day (November 6th) will also take place on UCF’s campus for Orange County voters in the CFE Arena.

If for no other reason, go vote to prove everyone wrong about young people. Show this country that we young people are going to stand up for what we believe in. Vote so that your future is the way you want it to be, not the way others chose it to be for you.

Go with your friends, parents, siblings, whoever you want. Make it a fun day. Just don’t forget your ID and ensure you read up on the amendments and candidates before heading to the polls!

Happy voting, everyone!

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5