November 13, 2020
Features Editor Megan Harper and News/Design Editor Julia Tully Face- off on hot button issues of the moment.
Why You Should Vote
Voting is a fundamental part of our government here in the US. This country is a democratic republic, meaning that the people get to vote, but they also elect representatives who speak for their city, district, state, etc. If people don’t vote, it’s difficult for their needs and beliefs to be accurately represented when decisions are being made.
On its own, voting is not difficult. You can register online and choose to either have the ballot mailed to your house or vote in-person at your local precinct. This goes for ANY election, not just presidential ones. Even better, you are automatically registered to vote in Michigan if you go to the Secretary of State to get or renew a driver’s license.
Voter turnout is a recurring problem in US elections. According to the American Presidency Project, only about 50-60% of the Voting Age Population has voted in presidential elections on average since 1920. In fact, many Americans aren’t even registered to vote.
I think the reason a lot of people don’t vote is because they’re convinced their vote doesn’t matter. They forget, they get busy in their day, and they brush it off as unimportant. It is viewed more widely as something you should do rather than something you have to do, which likely explains the consistently low voter turnout in this country.
If every eligible person voted, many of the politicians you’re familiar with likely would not be in office. Elections on every level, from city councils to senators, would have different outcomes, and people would be better represented for their demographics.
If anything positive has come out of this pandemic, it has to be that officials have become very creative with finding ways for people to vote. The Michigan Secretary of State sent out applications for absentee ballots to every voter in the state to help everyone be able to vote without putting themselves at risk. People are encouraged to vote early to help avoid lines and help maintain social distancing. States have amended laws to make it easier to vote by mail.
Early voter turnout for this fall’s election is already breaking records. According to the University of Florida, over 17 million Americans have already cast their ballots as of October 15. Colorado has reported a 2,400% increase in early voting from the 2016 election alone.
We’ve all seen the power that young people can have in politics. Millennials are the largest generation group in the US, and Gen Z already represents around 20 percent of the US population, according to Statista. As more Gen Z kids reach voting age and more Millennials are elected to public office, the political dynamic of this country will likely change, and we will all be here to see it.
If you’re reading this and you’ll be 18 before the election, I urge you to go out and cast your ballot on November 3. If you won’t be 18, which is the case for nearly all our readers, encourage and remind all of your friends and family to vote. Your voice matters, whether you are 18 or not, and what happens now will directly affect our futures. To our readers that have a couple years left before they can vote, I encourage you to educate yourself. Learn who represents you in the state and in Congress. Form beliefs based on facts, not what others think. Your vote matters, and even if you can’t vote yet, it will be just as–if not more–important four years from now.