I Was a Young Voter and You Can Too

It’s easy and your vote just might matter.

By Heather Mount on Unsplash

Young people vote the least of any age demographic. Young people, however, will live the most years with the outcomes of political activities, which should motivate them to participate.

When I was 18, I was eager and excited to vote after 18 years of being shut out of political society. I admit that I had every advantage. My parents were politically active in my hometown, and my mother gave me a voter registration form on my 18th birthday, watched me fill it out, and then turned it for me.

In the following years, even as a young adult, I would register to vote all by myself. It was easy. I would go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license or update a license after a move and fill out the registration form. Easy.

Now I’ll tackle some of the reasons that people of all ages give for not registering or voting.

I Don’t Know How to Register

I understand that our so-called democracy places a lot of barriers in front of people who want to vote, but they are easily overcome for the most part. These days many online resources, like Vote.org, quickly launch the registration process for people. You can also get voter registration forms at your local post office or any DMV. Basically, you just need to do it, and it doesn’t take any more time than buying toilet paper.

My Vote Doesn’t Matter

Many people lament that their votes won’t matter. I hear you. Everything is rigged against the little guy, but numbers can overwhelm barriers. If you look at most elections, the winners only succeed by very tiny percentages, sometimes just fractions of a percentage of the electorate. A few more votes in a district could alter the outcome.

I Don’t Like Any Candidates

You’re not getting married or choosing a roommate. You need to pick the least offensive candidate and cast a vote. Most of the votes that I have cast have been opposition votes. If more people did this, we would not have most of the pitiful bigoted creatures who masquerade as humans in our legislatures.

Ballot Propositions Matter

In many states, voter-initiated ballot propositions represent the only way that people can get their agendas enacted into law. For example, my state of Michigan (a shameful fascist backwater by the way) has many important initiatives on the ballot this November. They include legalization of recreational marijuana, reforms meant to correct our horrendous gerrymandering, and mandatory sick pay for workers.

If you’re registered to vote and going to the polls, you’ll get to have a say in ballot initiatives if your state does them. You’ll also be able to sign the petitions that bring voter-initiated propositions to the ballot in the first place.

WARNING: Not all ballot initiatives are good things brought forth by regular people who want to improve society. You must always proceed with caution because they can be engineered by special interests that want to harm society for their own benefit.

I Don’t Have Time to Vote

On election day, voting is usually a quick process. At times, I’ve had to stand in line, but it’s a tiny bit of effort to actually claim a right that people throughout history have died to secure for me.

Yes, you need to get to the polls. I understand that your employer might retaliate if you ask for time off to vote, but unless you’re working a 12-hour shift, you should be able to squeeze in some time to vote. You have a legal right to do it, and your employer is supposed to grant you enough time to do it.

Some states allow for people to absentee vote regardless of age. Unfortunately, my state practices age discrimination and only grants the elderly absentee voting privileges without requiring special reasons. If you live in a state that has no-reason absentee voting, you can obtain your ballot and do it prior to election day at your leisure.

Register to Vote ASAP

Many states like my own impose waiting limits after registration. It’s a way to keep people out of the process. If your state is restrictive, get registered at least 30 days before your election day.

I encourage everyone to vote, especially young people because you should at least try to influence how your society is run. You’ll be living with the consequences longer than me.