The vote is the most powerful non-violent tool we have. -John Lewis
I agree with this quote from Civil rights activist and the former U.S. Representative John Lewis, who passed away this year. 2020 has been a whirlwind for so many different reasons. The United States and the world have changed so much in one year. One thing has not changed, however, and that is the power of our vote. 2020 is a Presidential Election year and voting this year is ESSENTIAL.
Voting is a fundamental right and you would think that people wouldn’t take their right for granted. However, we never have 100% voter turnout in any election. According to the FairVote, 60% of the voting-eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections. Turnout is lower for odd year, primary and local elections. 2018 turnout was the highest midterm turnout on record at 49.6%.
Some think, however, that this year might be the year of the young voter. Young people could wield significant political power: Millennials and some members of Gen Z comprise 37% of eligible voters, roughly the same share of the electorate that baby boomers and pre-boomers make up, according to census data analyzed by the Brookings Institution. However historically, youth have not voted in large numbers. And many have argued that young people are not interested in politics but not everyone agrees. “Young people are very interested in politics. They have high levels of the civic precursors of participation. The real problem is they don’t follow through on their civic intentions,” she says. Hillygus co-authored Making Young Voters, which looks at why that’s the case. She found young people can get overwhelmed by processes like registration, an additional step in most states that can feel like an obstacle. They are more likely to need education on how to request and fill out an absentee ballot and are more likely to spoil their ballot because they’re unfamiliar with it.
One of the most important facets of voter education is figuring out how to reach voters. Text messages have been an increasingly effective way to reach voters. Hustle, the company, launched in late 2014, and political campaigns began using the Hustle app in mid-2015. Hustle is an app I have used to reach out to voters for the past several years. And since we are still in the middle of a pandemic, texting will become even more popular. As November approaches, some voters–especially in battleground states–might start feeling some fatigue at getting so many text messages from so many campaigns, parties, and PACs.
It doesn’t matter if a text message, social media, a blog, or current events motivate you, I just ask that you vote! A great site that provides comprehensive NON-PARTISTAN voting information is vote411.org . You can register to vote on this website, check your voter registration status, and find out what is on your ballot. Making a plan for how you vote, where you will vote, and who you will vote for…will help make voting easier.
Many feel their vote doesn’t count. The only way your vote does not count is if you refuse to vote. Take a friend or family member to vote but please, vote early and in every election. By voting AND holding elected officials accountable, we can collectively create the changes we seek. So what are you waiting for, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!