Whether you are politically active, interested in politics, or could care less about the government before reading this article, this upcoming mid-term election is really important. If you don’t think you have a voice as a young person, you do. These elections impact you more than you probably initially thought. From your reproductive rights as a woman to the amount of money you could spend paying off college debt as a student, to the environmental policies that will impact us all in the coming years, the laws made by the House and the Senate impact our daily lives.

It can be really confusing to figure out how to register to vote if you are not in your home state. First off, if you have not registered to vote before, you should register now. Although the deadline to register to vote has already passed for almost all states, you can check if you are registered here. Once you have registered to vote, an absentee ballot is a way for you to vote in these elections without having to go to the polls. Although the deadline for submitting an absentee ballot request has happened in a few states, most states will allow you to still fill one out! Once you have registered and filled out the section about getting an absentee ballot, you will receive one in the mail.

I just received my Maryland ballot yesterday, and it can be daunting to look at. At first, I called my father to hear his thoughts about the candidates. It’s important to spend time researching the candidates, but if you’re still not sure after some research, you can always vote with whoever represents the political party you identify with. Taking the time out of your day to see what certain candidates stand for is really important and will make you a more informed citizen. There are candidates who are fighting for what matters to you, and it’s your right and obligation to vote for them to show your support. So once you have filled out your ballot, you can mail it back! The absentee ballot should provide a pre-addressed envelope, but you do need to pay for postage.

If you can take anything away from this, it’s to please vote. If you need help with the process, you can reach out to a trusted adult or me. Daunting as it may seem, the process can be simple if you take it one step at a time. What is important is that your voice is heard and in the end, that is what makes being a politically active young person so special. As I write this, I am heading to drop off my ballot at the Bruff mailbox, so register, fill out your absentee ballot, and vote!

COVER PHOTO: ACLU