By: Molly Amick
With fewer than two months until the 2020 presidential election, it’s time to get serious about voting. The importance of voting should never be understated. However apolitical you may see yourself as, you and the people you surround yourself with are undeniably affected by the decisions the American government makes. Because this year is a presidential election, the gravity of your vote is even stronger--making voting a necessity to be treated with care, consideration and education.
Young voters have a reputation of low voter turnout rates that precedes us. According to the United States Census Bureau, only 46 percent of eligible voters of the ages 18 to 29 actually cast their ballots. Compared to the older age groups, the younger generation vote at a disproportionately low rate. Voters of the age groups 45 to 64 and 65 and older have turnout rates of 67 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Considering that the young generation is arguably most vulnerable to the outcomes and policies that come from the elections, why don’t we vote more? Helier Cheung of BBC News suggests that young voters receive less information about the voter registration process, as well as the candidates on their ballots. In addition, young people may feel hopeless about the political climate. When young people don’t feel adequately represented, voting feels redundant. Regardless of the reason, we need to seize the opportunity to vote.
This year alone has brought to light many issues this country has been struggling with; be it the disproportionate rate of police brutality that Black people and people of color face or the job and income loss concerning many Americans in the wake of coronavirus. This year has not followed the trajectory many have imagined it to. But the events we’re living through have also prompted many Americans to learn more about the role of race in America, to reflect upon and scrutinize the current Administration’s handling of a pandemic, and to overcome adversity with a sense of togetherness. This has likely caused you to consider your political beliefs and stances on the myriad of issues we’re juggling in present day USA, and this is exactly why it is important to vote in our upcoming election. Plus, your ballot allows you to cast votes for senators, representatives, and in many states, judges; so, vote regardless of your opinion on the presidential candidates.
Registering to vote, voting by mail, requesting an absentee ballot, and voting from out of state are steps you may find yourself needing to take in order to vote this year as a college student. These obstacles may appear complicated or confusing but are likely quicker and easier to accomplish than you’d anticipated. In order to participate in this election process, you’ll have to start with voter registration. This process varies state by state, but most states allow for online voter registration. An excellent and easy-to-navigate resource for voter registration and other election information is vote.org--you can also use this site to check if you’re registered to vote. Once you’re registered to vote, begin to research polling places near you (if you plan to vote in-person) or request an absentee ballot (if you are unable to vote in person). Vote.org makes requesting an absentee ballot simple. The site will redirect you to your state’s voter services website where you can access the application for your ballot. You may still choose to vote by mail by requesting a mail-in ballot regardless of your ability to vote in person, too.
You can also get information right here at Adelphi with the Adelphi Votes efforts. To learn more, visit https://www.adelphi.edu/vote/.