In honor of the upcoming presidential election, our October 2020 content will be focused on using you voice to make a difference, and what better way to start than by rocking the vote this November?
Why should you vote?
You may be familiar with the statistical statement that in the 2016 election, if “Did Not Vote” was a presidential candidate, it would have had a landslide victory. That’s right, 45 percent of eligible voters did not vote. It can be easy to get into the mindset that your one vote could hardly matter, but imagine what could happen if everyone who thought that way decided to vote this year.
It’s especially common for young people to choose not to vote. In 2016, 49 percent of 45-64-year-olds voted in the presidential election, compared to only 19 percent of voters aged 18-29. The harsh reality is that the policies that result from the election will likely have a much larger impact on these young voters, who in the next few years may be dealing with issues including college debt, finding a job, buying a house, and paying for your own health insurance –– not to mention the predicted impact of climate change during the young voter’s lifetime.
Maybe you already feel confident about which way your state will swing. Your vote still matters massively for state and local elections! In 1975, the New Hampshire Senate race was won by only TWO votes. In some more recent elections, a few hundred votes have been the deciders. That means you have the chance to make a huge impact.
How can you vote?
As a COVID-19 precaution, many states have expanded mail-in voting options for the 2020 election. Every state has its own voting laws to follow, but don’t let that overwhelm you. CBS News put together a list so you can easily view information on how to register and how to vote in your own state.
Keep in mind that some states have a registration deadline up to 30 days before the election, which is sooner than you might think!
Not sure if you’re registered? There’s no harm in double checking! Go to Vote.org to check if you’re registered, register to vote, and request an absentee ballot if allowed.
If you choose to vote by mail, be mindful of the by mail deadline for your state, which will be either a particular postmarked date or a deadline for your ballot to be received in order to count. Just like registering to vote, don’t wait until the last second to return your ballot.
If you are voting in person this year, your state may offer in-person early voting days. This can be a good option to avoid a November 3rd crowd, but there are precautions you can take to safely vote on Election Day as well. If you’re unsure if in-person voting is a good option for you, read this CNN article on safely voting during COVID-19.
What else can you do?
If you’ve registered, made your voting plan, and are hoping to get a little more involved, that can be easy, too.
Remember the senate race won by only two votes we mentioned earlier? Encourage a friend to vote, and that two votes could be you this year! Even if you won’t be voting in the closest election of all time, if everyone who registered to vote got a friend to register to vote, and those friends all got one friend to vote, the US could hit a record-breaking voter turnout.
If you’re wanting to get even more involved in your community this election season, volunteer as a poll worker or phone bank for a candidate you’re excited about!
Voting shouldn’t be the end of your political activity, but it is a huge first step. If you’re looking for a sign to register to vote today, this is it!