Guest Author: Sean-Michael Pigeon ’17
There is a major problem in American political landscape today. It’s is not a problem that can be addressed easily. It’s not Congress’s deplorably low approval rating (17%). And it’s not the fact that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump form the most disliked major candidate duo ever. Somehow, it’s actually worse. Voter turnout across the entire nation, particularly in young adults, has reached historic lows and the trend isn’t slowing down. Why are young adults simply not voting? One of the very liberties the founding generations fought for isn’t being taken away; it’s being ignored.
We can simply no longer ignore the deplorable voting trends in America. Only 49.4% of young adults in the age of 18 – 24 actually cast a ballot, a statistic representing less than one-half of a generation! There are a number of reasons for not voting. Some are valid. One is that Election Day is busy, and voting takes up too much time. Others claim they “don’t like the candidates.” While both may be true, I suspect the real reason is young people simply don’t think their vote counts. This may be the real problem. The real reason people are not willing to create time in their day to vote is they don’t think it matters. And I am part of that group, wondering if my singular vote will make a difference. However, despite the reasons to not vote, there are much better reasons for voting.
The best reason to vote is the most intuitive: Voting is the duty of every citizen in the United States of America. Voting is not a privilege. We owe it to our government and to each other. Maybe if we shift our perspective from thinking of “our” vote as “our say” to thinking of it as our “collective” duty, we will want not want to fail to in our duty as citizens of our country.
Beyond our civil obligation to take an active role in the government, voting actually does make a difference. Voter turnout is a major reason why both political parties claim victory. Many news articles claim that if America were to have 100% voter turnout, the democratic party would gain a significant number of delegates.4 Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump has said many times that he is “bringing in millions of people,” referring to the high turnout in recent Republican primaries. Whether the conclusions drawn by both sides are true or not, turnout is a major factor into whether a certain politician or party wins the presidency and senate seats, and both sides of the aisle urge their supporters to understand that their vote does matter, and that they truly can change politics.
So how do you vote? First you have to be eligible to vote. You must be a citizen over 18 years old on Election Day, not a convicted felon, and a resident of the county where you submit your registration. To register to vote, fill out the online registration. (If you like, you can pick up a registration form in the College Advising office.)
Then print out the card and mail it to the county Election Administrator. If you live in Tarrant County, the address is:
Elections Administrator, Frank Phillips:
2700 Premier Street
Fort Worth, TX 76111