Why and How to Register to Vote

It's that time of the year again! Yes, it is the season for pumpkins and crispy leaves, but it's also the season for voting! Yep, that's right, voting still goes on even when there isn't a presidential election going on. Who knew?! You might be thinking, "Taylor, I don't really care about voting for small elections." Well, trust me, I get it. You don't know a lot about the candidates and heck, you might even be hundreds of miles away from home and don't even know who's on the ballot. But I'm sorry, there are no excuses.

Many voters don't pay attention to election outside of the Presidential election, and I get that they aren't on our radar as much. Well, I'm here to put it on your radar. Back in 2013, my dad, Brad Sheffield, ran for our district's Board of Supervisor. The summer of 2013 was spent canvassing door to door, making phone calls, working polls and so much more. I got to experience it all. I learned that many people didn't know about the Board of Supervisors and they didn't really pay attention to its upcoming election nor the other elections that November. But because my dad's campaign went out and talked to the community, we were able to get way more than the average amount of voters to come out for that Election Day. All of our work paid off because my dad ended up winning his election and served his community proudly for four years. While the President and Congress make big decisions for our country, they aren't too concerned for each and every county in the United States. But your Board of Supervisors, City Council Members, School Board Members, etc., all care about the community and want to help make a difference. While my dad was only on the Board for four years, he made a difference, and he couldn't have done it without the people of Rio District going out to vote and believing in him. 

Many college students can't go home and vote, including myself, but you can register for an absentee ballot. If you're not registered yet, you can quickly sign up through this link (if you're from Virginia): https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. If you're not from Virginia, I suggest just searching "*your state* voter registration." It's that easy. Fill out the online form and select absentee ballot towards the end, and they will send you one to your school address, and then all you have to do is just follow their instructions and pop it right back into the mail. If you are registered to vote, click on that same link and fill out the form and it will also send you an absentee ballot to your school address. 

There are no excuses when it comes to not voting. As an American citizen, it is one of our civil responsibilities. As young voters, we can make a difference and make a change for our country and our world. We are the ones who are going to make the difference that changes the path we are on, but we can't do that if we aren't the majority. I encourage you to take the 10-20 minutes to register online and then the 10 minutes to vote and send your ballot in the mail. That total of 30-40 minutes will make a difference and will be the first steps that our generation has to take. So hurry up and go register because the last day is October 15th! As Greta Thunberg said, "The moment we decide to fulfill something, we can do anything."

If you need some more inspiration, I suggest heading over to this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAJsdgTPJpU) and watching Greta Thunberg's speech at the UN Climate Summit. She is a fantastic example of the actions our generation should be taking and the passion we all should have. 

Images: giphy.com