Why You Should Vote This November

By Hsing Tseng on August 28, 2012

Most traditional-age college students enter their first year of college as 18-year-olds, legal adults, and eligible to vote. With the Presidential Election this November, I for one am trying to get as educated as possible on major issues and who I’m going to vote for. However, at least among my own peers, I often hear the words “I’m just not going to vote.”

This is less “voter apathy” and more our generation’s frustration with politics. We often hear people sigh about the “good ol’ days” or “back when So-and-So was President…” but we, the “millenials” (ages 18-29) were born into a tough economy. Growing up, we were told that we had to go to college to get a job, but the price of a college education has significantly increased since then, and now, it seems like we have to also go to grad school to get a “good” job. Speaking of jobs, where can we get one? Who is going to help us? We turn to the government.

Back in 2008, the youth were filled with belief in Obama, and volunteered for his campaign vigorously. Now, many of today’s college students, who have made it through high school waiting for Obama to fulfill this promise and that promise, are disappointed and disillusioned. The Republican Party is pushing for cuts to federal student aid and Pell Grants, a move that many students, who are heavily dependent on these funds, are hesitant to support.

Faced with this dilemma, plus the added difficulties of registering to vote, receiving a ballot or visiting the poll, all the effort involved in researching candidates, it seems like we as college students have no time or motivation to vote, especially when voting is presented as “which choice is the ‘lesser of two evils’?”

Photo from Flickr.com by Walt Stoneburner

However, you as a student should vote, and here is why.

  • Learning something in the process. Instead of passively standing by, you will actively take a stance in trying to shape the future of this nation, and by doing so, learn a lot about others’ views and your own.
  • These issues DO pertain to us as students. Think of it as the country you will “inherit” when you graduate and move into the so-called ‘real world.’ If you’ve ever complained about something or blamed something on the government, now is the chance to have those opinions voiced. Also, vote now or forever hold your peace – if you do choose not to vote and then you choose not to praise or complain about political decisions.
  • Democracy only works if everyone speaks. You may think “My vote won’t count.” Remember Florida? Every vote counts. Even if your vote is a murmur, a sea of murmurs becomes a powerful, unified shout. “Rule of the people” doesn’t work if the people don’t care.
  • Exercising a fundamental right that is denied to many living in this country. As a U.S. citizen, you have the privilege of being born with the right to vote. The 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments to the Constitution and countless leaders have fought for this right, and some are still fighting. In some countries, youth just like you fight and die for this right. Vote because you can.

I encourage you to vote this fall because you do have a voice that should be used. Step up to the plate and make a stand!

A second-year at the University of Denver, Hsing is part of the National Columnist team with Uloop. She loves covering the nerd culture and technology beat and aspires to work for Kotaku or IGN. You can find her gaming, watching anime, or blogging away madly. (Good luck finding her Tumblr, though.) She is super involved at DU, and wouldn't have it any other way.

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