It’s voting season; why you should be registered to vote
It’s that time of year again; that first Tuesday of November and it will be here sooner than we think. Everywhere you turn, there is a table of people with organizations who primary goal is to get students registered to vote. They are the ones we see who are going around to students asking them: “Have you registered to vote?”
I personally get annoyed when I get asked this consistently, but I am already registered. Even though these can seem like little annoyances, the work they are doing is so important to our society. Voting is something we get to do as citizens, and it is our duty to go to the polls and vote. Just think about it; the American Revolutionary War was fought so the people in the United States could have a say in our government, and that is what voting is about. That is why we hear so many things about getting our age group to vote and to register to vote. According to Inside HigherEd, the amount of voters in 2018 midterm election to the 2014 midterm election was more than double. They also said registration promotion events done on college campuses are working to make those numbers happen. So student organizations going out to engage with other students to encourage them to vote has been working with getting students passionate about things they truly care about and want to see change. Especially in the previous election, the drive for people to see change brought up these numbers and gave students the opportunity to see what they wanted to change
But there is a difference between voting based on what you believe and voting because you are told to. I personally believe if you are going to vote you have to do your research in who is running and make a decision based on what you find most important. Especially in this technology age where we can get information on candidates easier than ever. If you are going to vote it is so important to do the research beforehand so you can make a decision on someone you truly want to stand behind.
There are a couple ways to do this, and a good place to start is to figure out who is on the ballot. Then, if they have it, try to find their official campaigning website. All candidates have their platforms online for everyone to see, and they usually are divided so you know what you are looking at. This is really helpful because this allows you to make comparisons on others running. By comparing, you can see which candidates you align with in terms of their values, and from there you can make a decision on who you want to vote for. It does take a little bit of time doing this research, but it in the long term it allows you to make an educated decision and not have any regrets later on when the election is over.
The common excuse that is told about why people do not register to vote is about their vote not mattering in the long run. However, there are many elections where the individual vote is what really mattered. For example, in 2017 in a Virginia House of Delegates election there was a dead tie between the two candidates. After many recounts, the votes were split in half exactly and they pulled a name out of a bowl to determine the winner.
There are plenty of examples of where there were close call elections where candidates won by 20 or less votes. Even though it can sometimes feel like voting will not matter in terms of the big picture, every single vote counts no matter who you are or what you believe.
~Sara Koochagian, Staff Writer~