I’m sure you’ve seen all those Facebook memes and signs around town encouraging you to vote. The midterms are on November 6th of this year, and there are so many opportunities to register your vote!
Unfortunately, I was not old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election—I was seventeen years old and I remember how much it divided my high school; it still does two years later. I’ll be damned if I waste any of my votes on any elections, local or nationwide. I have no shame when I say I hate the Cheeto Puff we have as a president and that I hate what has become of our country. But do you know how we can change that and actually make America great again? By voting.
Do you want to know what happens when we have a country full of people who feel like both candidates are terrible so they vote for the worst possible choice without doing any research?
Or maybe you, or someone you know, was old enough to vote but didn’t. Do you know what our country could become if everyone thought, “Oh, well! I’m just one vote—it literally won’t matter?”
I was going to insert a picture of the leader amongst the people of North Korea but I didn’t want to be the reason another man child wreaked havoc on a country for being offended, so you all get the North Korean flag instead.
I consider myself to have pretty good morals: I don’t believe people should die or be injured because of gun violence, especially by people who shouldn’t have guns to begin with. I believe everyone should have access to clean drinking water. I don’t believe the rich should have tax cuts when millions of their employees don’t have enough income to live without government assistance. I don’t believe our leaders should mock people with disabilities or sexual assault survivors or make derogatory comments about women. I believe that we should believe people when they come forward to share a traumatic sexual assault experience, regardless of evidence that may or may not be there. Do you think that people just keep cameras on them 24/7? That DNA will still be present years later? If you don’t believe them because of lack of evidence, you need to rethink your character.
There’s so much more that I believe in that I’m sure many of you may believe in as well, but we can’t change anything if we don’t vote.
Here’s what you need in order to vote in Minnesota:
Be a US citizen
Be at least 18 years old on election day
Live in Minnesota for at least 20 days
And finish each and every part of a felony sentence.
What’s great about Minnesota is that you can register to vote online! I’m already registered to vote, but because I live about two hours away from school, I was able to get my absentee ballot online as well. If you go to the website vote.org, you can register to vote, see if you’re registered, get your absentee ballot, and get other information about your polling place.
I requested an absentee ballot on a Tuesday and received it on a Friday, so it was pretty speedy. If you request an absentee ballot by mail, your vote will not count if it is received after election day. However, if you go to the DMV or local workforce center, you can request an absentee ballot in person as long as it’s at least 10 days before election day. I cannot stress this next part enough: Research your candidates!
I am a registered democrat and for the local midterms in August, I went through every candidate and made lists of what their goals were if they were to be elected. I found that there were some Democrats I really connected with and others that did not have the same values as me and that leaned more to the right. I strongly advise to research the candidates on the ballot and vote for who you think is best for the people in your community and the country instead of just voting for the people solely because of their party, regardless of goals.
Maybe you are worried about getting an absentee ballot in the mail in time. If that’s the case, you can always go to the DMV or workforce center in your town and request a ballot. I did this the day before I moved to college and it was easy-peasy: all I did was walk in, fill out the ballot, take my sticker, and then I dipped.
If you get a ballot in the mail, you will need to have a witness to make sure it’s actually you that is voting and not someone else that is trying to steal your vote. Once you show your ballot to them, you may fill it out. Your vote will be disqualified if you fill your ballot out before showing its blank state to your witness. If you’re unsure who to vote for, you can find that information here (for Minnesota residents only).
Once you are done voting, put your ballot into the tan envelope that came in the mail and then put that envelope in the white signature envelope—which your witness must sign afterwards—and then put that envelope in the white return envelope. When you receive your absentee ballot, it will come with the ballot itself and three envelopes, which I just mentioned. You must get your ballot to the address that is already printed on the white return envelope, whether you mail it in or have it hand delivered. If your ballot is being sent in-state, you should estimate three to four days for it to arrive at the election site, so you should send it at least five days before election day just to be safe.
When sending your ballot in, be sure to take a look at the postage. Fortunately, Washington County has already paid my postage, but some states require one or two stamps, so make sure you check that out before sending it in.
Voting is an essential right for a democratic country like ours. Sure, it’s okay to complain about what is happening in America and about who is leading it, but there’s no use complaining about it if you don’t do anything to change it. Write letters to your office officials, protest, and vote. Don’t let our leaders screw us over without expecting us to backlash. Because do you know what happens when citizens stand by their leaders without question or thought?