"I'm probably just not even going to vote."
This is an answer I get nearly half the time when I ask someone how they plan to vote in this year's election. Some of these people are my age, while others are many years my senior.
I get it. This election is something that no one likes talking about, but at the same time, nobody can stop talking about it. Candidates are overexposed on social media, so no matter how hard you try, all you see are all their negative qualities, reinforced every single day. You feel that the two main options you are left with are the worst options possible and that there is no point in voting for a third-party candidate. I get that, and it sucks.
Even though I'm someone who doesn't really like politics, I watched every debate for both parties, both parties' national conventions, and the most recent presidential debate. I don't like that this election is my first election, however, I still wanted to watch so that I could form my own opinion and decide who I thought would be the best choice to run this country.
I admit, what happened in the primaries left me flabbergasted. I did not understand how John Kasich could talk about how Republicans and Democrats needed to stop thinking of each other as enemies, only to get ignored, while Donald Trump could spew hateful comments and get an applause. I did not understand how people could talk about how they disliked Hillary Clinton but go on to say they would not vote for Bernie Sanders because they knew he wasn't going to win anyway.
I'm not writing this article to tell you who to vote for because that's not right. My mind is made up on who my choice is, however, I know many people who are choosing to abstain from voting or are undecided.
This year is not the year for a protest vote. If you are upset Bernie did not win the primaries, recognize that Hillary Clinton is the best option to get his policies enacted. If you are upset that Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, know that 469 seats of Congress (that's 88%) are up for election on November 8th, so you should still show up to the polls. If you are a Libertarian and agree with Gary Johnson's policies, then vote for him. Don't let people tell you that you are wasting your vote by voting outside of the two main political parties, because at least you will be making the effort to go vote.
If you are undecided, do your research. Decide what you believe is right, and find the candidate that matches your opinions the best. There is no perfect candidate, though, so don't expect to agree with them on everything. One imperfect human being cannot be solely responsible for perfectly running a country, so be sure to research the Vice-Presidential candidates and the congressional candidates running, and find who you agree with the most, and then go out and vote for those people.
I know it's cliché to say that one person can make a difference, but if enough people start thinking that their vote does count, then collectively, yes, your vote will make an impact.