Your vote matters more than you think


By Kristen Harris

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably getting ready to vote in your first Presidential election. If you’re not planning to vote, then keep reading so that I can tell you why you should be.

According to a 2015 CNBC article, only 38 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in the last Presidential election. That’s the lowest percentage of any demographic.

You know what that means? Millennials really are the worst.

The truth is, though, that we’re uninformed voters. It’s not that we know nothing about the candidates. Rather, many new voters simply don’t know how to vote.

As I do with everything else, I learned how to vote from YouTube. John and Hank Green put together this great project called “How to Vote in Every State.”

Basically, you just have to go to the channel and follow the instruction in the short video, and, BAM! You’re registered to vote. Once you’re registered to vote, you have no reason not to go.

You can even register for an absentee ballot. You can vote early. Heck, you don’t even have to leave campus, because in Polk County, you can vote by mail!

Let me explain just how important the young vote is for the deciding the future of our country.

If you paid any attention to the international news last summer, then you’re probably familiar with Brexit.

Basically, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which every eligible citizen could vote whether or not their country should stay in the EU.

The UK voted to exit the EU by a margin of 4 percent. Young British voters were not happy.

The BBC cited several polls showing that voter turnout was lower in areas with more 18 to 24-year-old voters. Even though nearly three-fourths of young voters elected to remain in the EU, the 60 percent of 65-and-ups who voted to leave got their way.

The biggest complaint among young British voters post-Brexit is that the decision is going to affect their generation more than it will affect the older voters. However,  the older generation won because more of them got out and voted.

The decision we make on November 8 will shape the world for our generation as well as the next.

You aren’t obligated to vote for who your parents are voting for. You don’t even have to tell anyone which candidate you choose.

The excuse that I’ve heard over and over is that we simply don’t like the candidates we ended up with (Sidenote- If you don’t want this to happen again, then vote in the primaries!). I know that it’s like being forced to choose between Lord Voldemort and Professor Umbridge, but, please, choose wisely.

An unused vote could very well be in favor of the candidate you particularly hate.

Even if the thought of voting for either candidate turns your stomach the way it does mine, you still need to make this choice. It’s our decision.

Who is going to lead your country? Who is going to represent you to the rest of the world?

I hope those questions got you thinking, because that leads into the most important point I have to make: Your vote will change the course of history as we know it.

The President of the United States isn’t called the “leader of the free world” for nothing.

Who we choose to sit in the Oval Office will make decisions that affect a refugee child’s opportunity to escape war by coming to the US. Our next President’s actions could determine if your immigrant neighbor’s family gets to stay together. The name we swear into office might change how many hardworking parents can provide food and health care for their children.

If you’re choosing not to vote because you can’t force yourself to choose, then, once again, we are in the same boat. Choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton used to keep me up at night, too.

The truth is, it’s not Millennials who are the worst. It’s the decision that we, as voters, must force ourselves to make.

I solved this dilemma with a handy little tool called More than 44 millions voters, myself included, have found their perfect match by choosing and ranking their opinions on important political issues.

The site will also tell you more about your own political beliefs, which you can then compare with your Facebook friends (though, with this election, I wouldn’t recommend it).

You already use the internet to solve every other problem. Why not take a break from Netflix- I mean, homework- and find the candidate choice you can live with?

Voting for President isn’t just something else for Justin Timberlake to post about on Instagram. Joss Whedon didn’t assemble the Avengers in that great video for you to simply like and move on.

People have been dying since the eighteenth century for your right to vote. People are still dying- good, hardworking people- because they put the greater good of your country first. I don’t think driving the few miles to your voting place is going to kill you.

I’ll see you on Election Day.


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