Every four years, politicians, media personnel, authoritative figures, and fellow students urge us to vote as “this is the most important election of our lives.” While every election is important, the political climate that has evolved this year has made the coming election of the highest gravity. The next president will inherit a pandemic and increasing racial tension, just to name the most salient consequences.
Historically, college students (ages 18-24) have been the least likely to go out and vote. In 2016, 46% of the age demographic actually cast a ballot, according to census.gov. This demonstrates 54% of our generation didn’t feel their vote was important in 2016.
This year, nearly 75% of all voters will be eligible to vote by mail; this is a beautiful thing for the confused voter. This means you can research each person and ballot issue while in your pajama pants, and better yet, there is no pressure to remember everything on the ballot. The resources at your fingertips have made voting easier than ever. Further, it is important to know as a voter that there is no pressure to vote down a party line. You have the time to research the issues, and where candidates stand, so vote where it aligns with your values.
Even if you are not sure how to vote for the presidential office, your vote for your local community carries a lot of weight. Sometimes it feels like politics is in a world of its own, so removed from our everyday lives. While it is true that all levels of government affect our everyday lives, the decisions that change your life the most are on a local level. Your governor has the ability to enact state-wide mask mandates. Your state legislators decide where tax money is spent, in health or education or in a litany of other community issues. Your local vote decides if you drive on a smooth road or on one lined with potholes. Your local community needs your voice.
A healthy democracy requires active civic engagement. The world has seen that this generation wants to create change by their participation in protests and social movements. While these call attention to the problems, going out in large numbers to the polls is the most concrete way to bring out the change we so desperately want to see. So, register to vote, inform yourself, and show the world that we will not sit still, waiting for change to happen.
Veracity PR Strategies is a group of JBU students who want to make the complicated simple. So, we started Go Vote JBU, a repository of information about elections and voting. We know that registering to vote, finding non-biased sources, and understanding legal jargon can be off-putting. So, we did some of the hard work for you. We will not tell you how to vote, but we will urge you to inform yourself and give you the resources to do so. We are rapidly approaching Election Day, Nov. 3.
It is not too late to start informing yourself now. For information on voting in some states, non-biased resources, the history of voting, and much more, we can be found on Instagram at @GoVoteJBU.
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