As college students, we hold immense power in deciding who becomes the executive power of the United States. But, only 48.3% of us turned out to vote in 2016. We are the future of democracy, rising into the nation’s most important roles, and less than half of us are using our right to choose who represents us as a country. I get it, I do. It seems complicated to register, to vote, and apply for a mail-in ballot when “I’m only one person and my singular vote doesn’t matter.”
The truth is, registering to vote takes about 5 minutes. Texting “future” to 644-33 brings you to a link that allows you to simply fill out your information and sends you on your way. Registering for a mail-in ballot takes approximately 2 minutes using the following link: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/.
7 minutes. It takes a total 7 minutes to commit to fighting for the survival of an endangered democracy and towards a more unified future.
I have heard countless times that voting is irrelevant when “one vote won’t make a difference.” Here are a few instances of elections that ended in crazy small margins, proving that every single vote not only matters, but is imperative to each election, including the one taking place this November:
● Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election by 77,744 votes of 136 million votes cast
● In 2017, control of Virginia’s House of Delegates and the swing from republican to democratic control came down to a single vote in one race
● In the 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Bush won Florida by 537 votes out of 6 million cast
● The winner of Atlanta’s 2017 mayoral race won by 832 votes, less than one percent of all 92,000 votes cast
This upcoming election is a fundamental opportunity for this generation of young voters to show America what direction we plan on leading this country. It isn’t fun to read about all that America is plagued with right now, how we are more divided than we have been in centuries. Trust me, reading the news makes me want to get in bed and fall asleep for a few weeks. But, it is important to be educated about just how much danger we are in order to fight for what is right: recognizing our systemic wrongs and working to make them right, reforming slavery masked under the name of mass incarceration, reuniting immigrant families, fighting climate change, and treating a global pandemic with care, science and urgency.
Ask your friends, peers, brothers, sisters, even strangers you met in your 5-minute-too-long Zoom breakout room if they’re registered and have a plan to vote this November. Treat this like life or death, because for some, it is.