“I'm just one person."
“It can't possibly make a difference."
“I'm not interested in politics."
“I don't have the time."
These are only a few of the many excuses people use to get around casting their vote. Democracy and voting have been the foundation of our country since its beginning. It's the right for Americans to not only have a say in who governs, but also a say in what laws we must follow.
In 2016, only about 60% of eligible voters showed up to cast a vote in the presidential election. And that's the most major election we have. Think about state and local elections and how much lower those voter turnouts are.
So why aren't people voting? Whether it's millennials, baby boomers, or those a part of generation X, why did that 40% stay home on election day?
The most common answer I get from people my age is that they have no interest in politics. They're indifferent. When someone says that, what I hear is that they don't mind watching as our country falls apart around us.
Now, I'm not saying you have to understand the ins and outs of our entire political system or know each candidate/piece of legislature like the back of your hand, but educating yourself on even the most basic policies can help make you an informed voter.
Being completely blind or indifferent to politics and elections shouldn't be an option. These elections influence the way we live our lives and can determine how our future will look, especially as college-age students.
We're going out into the world and becoming contributing members of society. The world and the decision-making is being handed to us, and we need to learn how to use our voices to avoid as many missteps as possible.
Voting and registering to vote could not be easier. It's a quick process, and even if you're busy I guarantee you can spare a couple minutes. Registering to vote and the actual act of casting a vote take less than 15 minutes combined.
And being an informed voter, educating yourself on candidates and issues, is something that you can do anywhere at any time. Read an article on your lunch break. Look up candidate information while you're sitting on the toilet. It really is simple.
Our votes determine who makes the rules we have to follow. They determine what rights we do or don't get. Their decisions influence the way we live, and it's important to use your voice in support of someone whose ideas and values match yours.
You, your one opinion, your one voice, your one check in the box next to a candidate's name — they all matter. You never know whose perceptions you might influence when you use your voice to speak up for what you believe in or show support for causes and issues you care about.
For more information on voting laws, registering to vote, and candidate information you can check out these websites - or use the button below:
Use your voice. Cast your vote. Trust me, it matters.