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Listen up kids. Our generation has the potential to decide this presidential election. While you may think that you’re not really “into politics,” the outcome of this election will undoubtedly affect your ever impending semi-adulthood life. As a political science major, I’m admittedly a bit biased about the importance of voting. I have a lot of strong opinions that I find necessary to share with the masses (especially after drinking…and especially with people that have offended me in the past). I understand why not all college students aren’t fired up about the election. If I were to guess, it’s partly attributed to the intimidating influx of a 24-hour news cycle, coupled with the constant stream of Trump toupé memes. Fear not, my sweet angels, as I’m going to hold your hand and lead you down the path of active political engagement.
This election won’t be the first time that the youth vote is crazy important.
In 2008, Obama had the largest-ever showing for a presidential candidate in the age group of 18-29 (according to an exit poll analysis released Nov. 4 by CIRCLE. Whew.) It’s been widely speculated that without this youth vote, President Obama wouldn’t have won the election. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in December 2014, the Millennial generation beats the Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation. So you look your mom dead in the eyes and whisper, “I’m the captain now.” If we show up, nay, when we show up, we are deciding the next leader of the free world.
Now that your ego is inflated and your sense of self importance is dangerously high, you’re probably eagerly scrolling through Politico and setting up push notifications for CNN updates. Settle down sweetheart, and grab your planner because there’s a schedule to adhere to.
February 1 kicked off with the Iowa caucuses, and they will continue along with primaries through Mid-June. Presidential nominees have three debates before election day, which is November 8. While that may seem a long way down the road (will you still be with Chad by then? Will you be studying abroad in Paris and have finally perfected that weird guttural French accent?) it’s closer than it seems.
Think it’ll be difficult? Chill. In honor of Ciara, all you have to do is 1-2-Step.
- If you haven’t already, register to vote.
- It’s easy, and contrary to what my grandfather told me, you don’t have to be 21 years old (that’s for vodka, not voting).
- 23 states offer online voter registration, and for those who don’t all you have to do is print a form and send it in via mail.
- The most intimidating part of the whole process is trying to get to the post office on an off peak time when they’re still open to sell you a stamp. So do it. Right now. I’m serious. Unlike your ex-boyfriend Chad, The Rival isn’t going anywhere.
- Ah yes, wasn’t that easy? Now that you’re totally legit, for upcoming elections you need an absentee ballot if you’re going to be at Fordham and you’re not from New York.
- “Madeline please we don’t even know what this IS!” you scream into the wind. Honestly, chill. Merriam-Webster where you at? What is a freaking absentee ballot? “A vote that is submitted before an election by a voter who is not able to be present when the election occurs.” Bam. Easy.
- Your home state will mail you a ballot prior to the election and you just send it back in. You drank for 48 hours straight at Spring Weekend, I think you can handle licking an envelope.
I asked Professor Hume, Supreme King (and Official Chair) of the Political Science department, his view on the importance of college aged students voting. He replied,
“If certain segments of the population sit out, then their voices will have no impact on who is elected and what policies become law. Politicians will learn that they do not have to pass laws that are important to college students because college students do not vote, so their support is not needed. The only way to have a government that truly reflects the people is if everyone votes.”
Let me clarify; I’m not advocating to vote simply for votings sake. Get opinionated. It’s really easy to disassociate from the political process and dismiss it as a corrupt system fueled by the rich and powerful (which is probably true). But it’s not radical or cool or subversive to claim that you’re not voting because you don’t like what the government has become. The only way to attempt to make any form of change in the government is to get involved. If you’re pissed off, than good. Give your vape pen a rest and vote for people whose views you align with. Kick the crazy assholes out of office. There’s strength in numbers, and our generation holds all the power.