First time voter readies up

It’s 2012. It’s a leap year. It’s the beginning of my senior year of college. It’s the year I turn 21. It’s… it’s… a presidential election year, which leaves me more scared than if it were the year the world ended.

If you haven’t done the math yet, this will be the first year I am able to vote in a presidential election. I’ve voted before in small-town primaries, where my daddy handed me a Post-It note with the names of all the candidates he supported before I walked into the booth. However, this election—with more at stake than who will be the constable for little Danville, Ark.—I want to make my own decisions.

But making my own decision means I have to be informed. And being informed means I have to spend a substantial amount of time researching candidates, listening to debates and staying on top of current events. And after only a couple of months, I’m left wondering, “is it worth it?”

Let me assure you it is. Here are only a few of the reasons I and other members of Generation Y should be motivated to “rock” our vote.

First of all, the issues addressed in the election directly affect the youth of the nation. The war in Iraq? Supplemented mostly by young soldiers. Funding for primary, secondary and post-secondary education? Attended mostly by young students. Employment rates? Worried about by soon-to-be graduates like me.

If you give up your right to vote, you give up your opportunity to influence the major decisions made on these issues.

Secondly, the democratic process only works if both young and old participate. Without voters, a democracy has no power. And with mostly the older generations voting, the majority is skewed. It’s easy to believe that your one vote doesn’t matter. But the truth is, every vote counts. Your vote combined with others who share your views and opinions can make a huge difference.

Let’s face it, the voice of the youth in this country needs to be heard.

Finally, you should vote simply because you can. My father believes so strongly in the freedom to vote, he makes sure I vote in every single election possible, educated or not. Voting is a privilege, an honor, a right so many around the world have never possessed. People live, fight and die for the ability to vote, while Americans—especially our generation—take it for granted.

So you better believe I’ll be ready this November. I’ll enter that booth, my own Post-It note in hand, ready to do my part to change this country. Will you join me?