While I was filling out my absentee ballot for the upcoming midterm election, I decided to do some research about each candidate, no matter what party they belong to. I am a registered Democrat and I definitely would like to see more Democrats in all levels of government, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I should know what I'm voting for before I contribute to someone winning or losing office.

I went through each candidate to see where they stand on important issues; Democrat, Republican, Green, and even Libertarian. I ended up voting all Democrat anyway, though I considered the Republican option for state representative. That was the first time I could ever see myself voting Republican and I think that's an important lesson everyone needs to take away from this election.

Many people who decide to vote just choose candidates from whatever party they identify with. I know I did that for the primaries. I was a fresh 18-year-old, just excited to participate in the polls. I clicked random buttons that had "D" next to them even though I had no idea what those people were fighting for.

Every vote matters, and if you don't know what you're voting for, you're still contributing to that person's campaign. Maybe you are Republican and you agree with a lot of the party's stances on many issues, but what if that candidate you voted for was aiming to act in office on an issue you saw as unimportant? What if they saw things differently than most Republicans? You would never know if you don't do your research before supporting a politician.

Just because you come from the same party, doesn't mean you stand for the same issues. You are allowed to vote across parties and if you feel the need to, you shouldn't let your party label hold you back.

It is also important to know if you are voting for a career politician supported by corporations and big business or someone who is actually fighting for the people. There are corrupt politicians on both sides and I don't think anyone but the rich people that own those corporations and businesses want someone like that in office.

That's why you need to know what kind of person you are voting for, in addition to their party membership.

I encourage everyone to vote in this midterm election and in every election to come. This country has seen firsthand what happens when voter-turnout is low and even if you think your vote doesn't matter, it does.

If everyone decided not to vote, we get what the baby boomers want, and I don't think any of us young people want that. Young people are the future and we must take control of what is going to happen to this country and that starts with a vote.

Politicians at every level matter, from local to nationwide. The president doesn't do as much as everyone thinks so it is essential that we take the time to know who we are voting for in every election we have the opportunity to participate in. This country needs kind, upstanding citizens in office, and we are the only people who can get them there.