Whether you like it or not, the presidential election is less than a month away. The participation of young Americans is vital to the outcome of this election. With a slew of entirely different candidates, the winner of this election has the power to drastically change our country.
College students and young adults who may have never voted before are quick to voice their opinions on social media and around their campuses. However, without these same people casting their votes in the election, these opinions mean nothing. Sending out a tweet is not the same thing as casting a ballot.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans aged 18 to 24 have had the worst voter turnout out of any age group, consistently in every presidential election, since 1962.
Yet, that same age range has had a startlingly large impact with their votes. In the 2012 election, the 18 to 24 year-old age group cast more than 5 million votes for Barack Obama. According to USA Today, analysts say that Mitt Romney may have won the election without those votes.
If you didn’t already plan on voting, that information should give you reason enough.
Voting isn’t always as easy as some people might think. If you’re voting outside of your state, you will need to request an absentee ballot. The deadline for requesting those ballots is coming up quickly, and getting the ballots in early is better than rushing it last minute.
Doing a quick Google search for your state’s absentee ballot will pull up the correct forms. All you have to do is fill it out, mail it in and wait for your ballot.
Students also have the option to vote in Galesburg, Ill. by registering to vote here. The deadline to register just passed. However, if you’re from a swing state, you should vote absentee so your vote counts toward your state’s count, instead of Illinois’s, which is typically a blue state. Your vote will do more to help your state if it’s typically split pretty evenly.
However, if you are from Illinois, you don’t have to register in Galesburg. You can vote absentee in your county if you’d rather. Requesting an Illinois absentee ballot works in a similar way. Most of these ballots and registration can be found at vote.org. This website is a good place to start for those who do not know where to register and how to register.
Once you’re registered, you must vote on, or before Nov. 8.
While smearing your political views on the graffiti board in the Quads is all well and good, and live-tweeting the debate can be entertaining, none of it matters if you don’t actually get your ballot in. For many students, this is your first opportunity to vote in a national election. This is your first chance to make your opinion countÑ don’t waste it.
Skipping out on voting is not the same as skipping out on studying for that quiz in your class tomorrow; it’s a big decision to make, and your vote counts. Voting is a part of being an adult, and is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. This is not your GPA on the line, not the fate of your college on the line, but the fate of the country.
Millennials are time and time again portrayed to be lazy, and not participating in the election is only feeding into that stereotype. College students will be influenced by all decisions made in this country, and should be paying attention to issues and making their voice heard.
You don’t want to look back at this election and know you did nothing to influence it. Make history; cast a ballot.