Staying motivated and being prepared to vote

Photo by Tyler Meuter

After such a draining and drawn out presidential campaign cycle, one can be extremely wary about actually voting on Nov. 8, 2016. However, now that we are approaching the homestretch, focusing on the actual voting day is more important than ever.

It is very easy to be discouraged from voting after a year of candidates bashing each other in the news. Such-and-such candidate is a liar. So-and-so is bigoted. All the hostility does not foster an environment people want to approach, and too many opt to stay home instead. While it is within one’s rights to abstain from voting in an election, I advise going against this route.

There are many reasons why eligible citizens, especially students such as ourselves, choose not participate in the process. They don’t want to chose between the lesser of two evils, or don’t feel they are informed enough on the candidates, or feel like their votes don’t matter or simply don’t know how to register to vote. There are a lot of don’ts, all of which can be easily addressed.

Voting for the lesser of evils seems like a no brainer. By not selecting the candidate you may consider less evil, you are essentially equating the candidates, when in reality candidates all are complexly different from each other. Even if you do not like any of the candidates, why would you not vote for the candidate who is more aligned with your views?

Even if you are a blue voter in a predominately red area, or any other situation where your vote might be in the minority, your vote can still make a difference. How much someone wins by also impacts which policies are passed through, as the margin
of victory can limit the mandates a candidate can claim when they are elected to office.

Four years ago, when I was a wee first-year, I was trying to register to vote in the 2012 presidential election. Because my permanent address was and still is in New Jersey, I was not able to register to vote in Georgia and therefore had to request an absentee ballot. I quickly turned to the internet to see how I could vote. Turbovote is a website I used to figure out if I was registered and how I could vote absentee. To this day, the page still sends me an email every election in my area, reminding me to apply for my absentee vote.

Change is going to happen no matter what, so you might as well have a hand in it. You can comment as much as you want online on Facebook, Twitter, or even Reddit, but those in charge are going to go off what happens in the polls.

As Hank Green, part of the How to Vote video project said, “Democracy does not work if we do not participate.” So go forth, be heard and be a part of our wonderful democratic system.