The upcoming 2020 election is another critical moment for our nation. Healthcare, climate change, foreign policy, and social conflicts among many other political issues will be greatly influenced by the outcome of this presidential election. Considering there is so much at stake, America’s voter turnout is shockingly low every presidential cycle. According to PBS, approximately 58% of eligible voters actually voted in the last election. Barely more than half! We are too young to vote in this election, but we know how important that right is. For this reason, we need YOU to be our voice at the ballot. Not convinced? Here’s a few reasons why voting matters.
Use Your Voice!
Voting is an excellent way for people to participate in our representative democracy and showing support for policies people truly care about (in our case, that’s issues that matter to kids!). Citizens may not think their single vote matters in deciding the outcome of the election, but millions of people having the same mentality certainly does. In fact, local elections that have a notably smaller voting pool size are often decided by a few votes.
It Matters to You
Another common myth is that the results of an election will not affect an individual’s life directly. This is simply false. Just take a walk and you’ll notice the various ways government influences our everyday lives. City vehicles maintain roads and sidewalks. A USPS truck delivers mail. Emergency vehicles zoom by, sirens blaring. Although these are microscopic examples of how the government controls a lot more about our lives than the mass public may think.
Your Vote, Our Future
The choices elected officials make may affect your work, income and taxes, safety, accessibility to certain aspects of American life, etc. No candidate is perfect, and many times it all comes down to two candidates who hold vastly differing ideologies on the way this country should run. Chances are, you do not agree with every single thing either candidate says and thus it may seem easier not to vote at all. But either way, there will be a next president. And votes, such as yours, matter to those whose livelihoods and futures depend on the outcome of election. Vote for issues that matter to you, but also vote for those who cannot (like me!).
First off, educate yourself and others on the importance of registering to vote. Then if you can vote, do! But if you cannot, say, if you are under 18, not a U.S. citizen or are ineligible to legally vote, there’s still a lot you can do. Here are some great ways you can stay involved and ensure those around you are using their right to vote actively and responsibly:
- If you are 16-18, see if your state offers voter preregistration, which allows people to submit their paperwork at age 16 or 17 in order to automatically join the voter roll once they turn 18.
- Volunteer to work the polls on election day! Learn more about what it is and how to get involved.
- Post on social media about the importance of voting (see SCAN’s handy guide!).
- TALK about the election and voter registration with others in your community – educate them!
- Volunteer your time for political candidates or issues that matter to you.
- Stay informed with political news (always review multiple sources).
- Contact your state congressmen/women about voter suppression in your area and what solutions there may be on the local level.
- Send postcards with voter registration information.
As Save the Children Action Network student ambassadors, we use our voices all of the time to advocate for kids. Today, we need you to be our voice. Please register to vote today, and use your voice for kids this election!