Millennials (age 24 -39), and the newest group of voters, the post-millennial generation (age 18 – 23) now make up 31% of the electoral, meaning they should be equally as large of a political force as Baby Boomers (age 56 -74). Young American’s have the opportunity to use their civic duty to influence the outcome of the election in their favor, but will they?
According to Pew Research Center, about 46 percent of millennials voted in the last presidential election. If history were to repeat itself, the potential for millennials and post millennials to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election will be diminished if similar voter turnout numbers are posted. Thus, it is important for young Americans to not only express their political opinions, but also take to the polls and VOTE. In the words of the cast of the hit musical Hamilton, “text less. Vote more. Show everyone what you’re against or what you’re for.”
If you are lucky enough to be a part of the group of citizens in the United States that is granted a say in this democratic system with the right to vote, you should not be taking it for granted. To establish the United States of America, colony members fought to be independent from England because of “taxation without representation,” meaning that British Parliament refused to grant colonists representatives in the government.
In order to ensure that American citizens would always have the representation, the United States Constitution established the right for a limited group of citizens to vote (white males). Since then, women, people of color and other minority groups have fought against the patriarchy and systematic oppression for the evolution of the right to vote that now includes the more diverse, representative population of our country.
The right to vote is important to utilize because it is the duty of American citizens to elect candidates into office that represent the country, state, county, cities and their own best interests. In order to decide which candidates support said interests, researching the goals, policy plans and portfolio of each candidate is a necessary step. Research should include fact checking statements that candidates make as opposed to taking their word without further research. An easy way to fact check claims is to utilized credible sources that review claims and verify their accuracy—websites such as Politifact or Factcheck.org are examples of where you can find more information.
While we have our own beliefs and opinions, research and fact checking can help voters minimize the biases they may have about a candidate based on media or the opinions of those with whom they surround themselves. It can also maximize their ability to form their own fact-based knowledge and sentiments towards each candidate.
In order to stay informed, it is important to continue to research and be open to changing one’s opinion when gathering new information. It is also the responsibility of a politically educated person to correct their friends and family when they make an inaccurate statement to stop the spread of false information. The job may not be easy but voting has been a hard fought right for this county and in order for it to remain as such, these steps can assist in knowing and doing what is best for you as a voter.
Voting dates, processes, and registration vary from state to state. To learn about how to register to vote and how to vote in your state refer to The Campus Vote Project. Be sure to register to vote early, confirm your voting location, and ensure that you have a better understanding of not just the candidates, but other ballot items that impact your community. The Revolutionary War was not simply about the politics of separating from the British Empire, but also ideologically setting forth a new type of country where the voice of the people made an impact on leadership and decisionmaking.
Author: Bridget Kane
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