When I turned 18, my first thought was not about buying lottery tickets, getting into clubs, or getting a tattoo. My first thought was about voting. I thought about how exciting it would be to be able to vote the following November, signifying my transition to adulthood and becoming an active citizen with a voice in our country.
Voting gives Americans the right to speak up for what and who they believe in, in order to make the country the best version of itself, is both a right and privilege.
However, as I spoke with those my age about both voting and voter registration, I was shocked at the amounts of those my age who seemed completely uninterested in voting at all. Some said they didn't know how to register or that they were uninformed on the candidates, but many of those that I spoke to discussed how they felt that their vote didn't count or didn't matter at all.
I'm here to tell you, you're wrong.
Voting is our way to speak up, to address the things we do not like in our country and advocate for change. How can we expect things to change for the better if we ourselves do not make the effort to go out and change them? Voting in all types of elections will not only help voice the opinions of the American people but will also change the face of those elected officials in office who's ideas best represent and support the ideas of the people.
In 2014, the vast majority of voters were over the age of 50. How can we expect equal representation when the majority of voters are re-electing the same people who were there before? As many people of the young age group know all too well, the opinions on social and political issues vary greatly between older and younger generations. A higher turnout of younger voters will help even the representation of voters, advocating for the ideas of both old and new voters.
Our age group has a voice, a strong one at that, so why not make that voice count in elections? Before voting, make sure to register, so that nothing gets in your way on election day. In some states, young people can register early when they get their drivers license and are automatically added to the voter list when they turn eighteen. To become more informed on the candidates on your ballot, research your local races and candidates.
I personally used a website called Vote 411, which allows you to enter your address, giving you a personalized voting guide, as well as information on each of the candidates, races, and amendments. Despite what your opinion is, isn't it better to become informed and to have an opinion than to be unaware and not have one at all?
It's time that the young generation of voters in this country stand up and make a change, and the first step to that is by acting on our right to vote. Instead of complaining, let's go out and make the change we wish to see in our country a reality by supporting candidates that support our ideas and electing them into office. No matter what political affiliation you agree with, or who you vote for, voting for someone you believe in is much better than not voting at all.
Change is only made through action, and as citizens of America, that action is voting. So Democrat or Republican, make your voice heard next election by going out and voting for the betterment of our government, country, and lives.