In the upcoming election cycle, some members of the class of 2017 will be fortunate enough to cast their ballot. I myself would love to be one of those seniors, but my birthday is unfortunately the day after the election. Woohoo.
Since the large majority of my class and I will not be 18 in time, I have a message for those who will be – please, please vote.
Let me start off by saying, I understand why some kids may not want to vote. Before I knew I would be ineligible, I felt completely overwhelmed by the thought of understanding and keeping up with the election. The list of issues debated by the candidates could wrap around the Earth twice, and the complexity of each can seem comparable to rocket science. Not to mention the length of the election – how could anyone keep up with all of this for over a year and a half?
Luckily, there are sources that can break the election down so well, even elementary schoolers could understand it.
Sophia Jorgenson will be voting this November, and she is, without a doubt, well informed. For those who need some more information, she recommends scrolling through articles and polls on Nat Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, and watching John Green’s recent video on Clinton and Trump’s tax policies. Look at it this way: becoming familiar with politics now will only make the future elections much easier to understand.
Aside from staying informed, many young adults feel hesitant to vote because they doubt their vote will make a difference. Well, I again understand the feeling, but I’m happy to say that the opposite is the truth.
Young voters make up 20 percent of the eligible voter population, and 100 percent of the future. With a highly uncertain financial future for our generation, young voters have the power to drive the economy towards a more secure, prosperous position in preparation for when it will affect them the most.
And most of the older population doesn’t quite see the world the way our generation does – so why do we trust them to shape the future the way we might want them to? Young adults quite literally have the power to sway the election in their favor – so much so that local governments have actually attempted to restrict their abilities to vote. In 2010, 22 states passed new voting restrictions in order to make the process less appealing. Two hundred thousand Floridians were deterred from voting in 2012 because of long lines that resulted from new restrictions.
Finally, voting is an important right. Not every country is a democracy, and not every democracy allows as many people to vote as the United States does. Either exercise the right you are so fortunate to have, or stay quiet about the decisions made by elected leaders until the next cycle. You can’t complain about something you didn’t attempt to change.
Post election note:
In light of the presidential election and the mixed emotions surrounding the results, we must realize that the most important tool we posses is our vote. So whatever your feelings may be surrounding the election, and whichever candidate you supported, remember that you have the chance to make a difference in the next presidential race, because every vote counts.
Photo courtesy GaryK.com