It took me a long time to figure out what I was going to talk about today. I feel strongly about a lot of things; women’s health care, a woman’s right to choose, health care in general, marriage equality, LGBT rights, immigration reform, student loan reform…the list goes on and on. What I realized, within all of those things I feel strongly about, is one major tie.
Do you vote?
In high school was when I realized how important voting was. I remember sitting in my history class, watching the 2004 election, and watching people who were too young to vote get angry about the results of the election. We talked about it afterwards, and most of them were upset that they couldn’t vote. “We could have changed the election,” they said. “We could have gotten John Kerry elected.”
Potentially, yes. However, four years later, 18-24 year old had the lowest voter turnout, according to the US Census Bureau. There was a 2% increase from 2004, but moving from 47% to 49% doesn’t do a lot. Where did all of those people who were so upset about President Bush’s reelection go?
At 24 years old, I am now at the end of the 18-24 age range. In the 2010 Midterm election, 18-29 year olds had a turn out of 24%, according to a study done at Tufts University. 24%?! Are you serious?!
I’ve never been so embarrassed to fall in that age range. Why don’t 18-24 year olds vote? What is it about going to the polling location or filling out your ballot at home (let’s talk about how that is so easy it is embarrassing) that turns 18-24 year olds, or 18-29 year olds, off? Why don’t people my age think it is important to vote?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I talk to someone who doesn’t like their congressional representative, or who doesn’t think our President is doing a good job, but who isn’t even registered to vote. I’m not sure where they get off thinking that they can bitch about someone that they didn’t even vote for (or against) but I’ve met a number of people, lots of them my age, who don’t care enough to register to vote, and then decide to get angry about the decisions being made. If you don’t vote, you don’t get a say.
We are lucky enough to live in a country where we are given the opportunity to choose. That doesn’t happen in every country, and the fact that there are people out there who aren’t interested in voting baffles me. Why wouldn’t you be interested in helping choose where your country goes?
This is a huge election year. While I have specific beliefs about who should win the election and have stances on health care, education, marriage equality, etc., that isn’t what this post is about. If you’re interested in knowing my opinion on those things, you can ask me, I’d love to talk about it with you. This year is so big, though, that my opinions don’t matter right now. What matters is that you are registered to vote, and that you are going to vote.
Here’s all I ask of you: make sure you are registered to vote, and then on election day, turn in that ballot. In Washington, and several other states, your ballot will be mailed to you, but in others you go to a polling station and vote on Election Day. That’s in November, so you have time to decide who you are voting for, and I suggest you do a lot of research. Don’t vote for who your parents or friends are voting for – vote for the person that you think will be best for this county and who will continue to move our country forward.
If you’re not sure if you are registered, or don’t know how, head to CANIVOTE.ORG, and select your state. You’ll be taken to the website for your state where you can register to vote. Do it now, because you’ll need to be registered soon, especially if you have a primary coming up.
I don’t care who I vote for, all I ask is that you vote. Can you do that?
This video is from the 2008 election, but it is still relevant. Check it out, and VOTE!