This Midterm Election Should Motivate You to Continue Voting

If you’re like me, you probably turned 18 sometime in the couple years and gained the ability to vote. What a privilege! Voting is a key part of our American democracy. It gives you a way to vocalize your opinions on certain issues. Many young adults like myself wish they had the right to vote during the 2016 presidential election, so having the ability to do so on November 6th felt powerful.

The numbers aren’t exact yet, but voter turnout for this 2018 midterm election seem to already be breaking records. The New York Times estimates that 114 million ballots were cast this year, a huge increase from previous midterm years, and those votes did something (shocking, I know). The United States Election Project estimates more than 47% of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Tuesday, which is the highest turnout for a midterm since 1966.

This is a very impressive moment for all of us, and as first-time voters, we should feel empowered to know our vote counted towards such a historic record. Often, when we vote, we assume that we can’t make a difference. It’s just one vote. Who cares? My state always goes blue, or always goes red! This is a toxic mentality that unfortunately many Americans have. When you give up your right to vote in expectations that others will do it for you, you’re not only doubting the power of your voice, but you’re also giving in to the system. There are members in power who hope you don’t vote. They know the power of your vote! After all, voter suppression in especially minority communities is still very prevalent. Through intimidation tactics and insufficient resources, it is unfortunately achieved.

If you’re ever doubting the power of your vote, look at the record-breaking wins and the shocking statistics of this election. For example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 13th district will be the youngest woman elected to Congress. Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first woman senator. Or take Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts. Many of my Kansas friends were excited for the win of Sharice Davids, who will be the usually Republican state’s first gay representative, as well as the first Native American woman elected to Congress! The country was also shocked to find that 48.3% of Texans, who typically go “red”, voted for Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke for Senate. Meanwhile, down in Florida, Amendment 4 was passed, which restores voting rights for most convicted felons, with 64.5% voting yes. No matter what your political views, you cannot deny that these are historical outcomes for our country. All of these voters became a part of history, and that’s what makes voting so spectacular.

If 47% of the country voted on Tuesday and did that, imagine what could happen if more participated. Being a part of my first election has already been so rewarding. Watching the results, whether exciting or disappointing, only makes me more excited to vote again! No matter your political views, it is important that we take this election as a learning opportunity to understand the power of our voice and continue voting.