We have enough problems trying to get young folks to vote in general elections–why even bother trying to get them to the polls in primaries? In our first-past-the-post election, you’re constricted to whatever schlubs the two parties put up in the general, which most of us only vote in every four years because apparently the Presidency is the only elected position which matters.
We suspect, of course, given huge youth support for a certain independent senator from Vermont, this may not be the case this year, but the fact remains: you should be aware that the polls are open in Pennsylvania April 26, and if you are registered to a political party, you should vote in their primary. (Voters registered as “independant” cannot vote in primaries in PA, even if they have a consistent democratic/republican “independent” voting streak.)
It’s not just the presidency that is at stake: Pat Toomey(R-PA) has reached the end of his Senatorial term, and at least three folks are running for his seat in the Democratic primary, and himself and a competitor in the Republican primary. Depending on your district, folks may be running in your representative’s primary election. (Or, just as frequently, it may be uncontested.) Three people are attempting to primary incumbent Chaka Fattah, PA 2nd District representative (your representative if you reside West of Broad Street) and one person will appear on the Republican ballot for the same position. (Good luck James A Jones!)
If you’re still lacking for information, we recommend going to Vote411.org, which will give you a preview of your ballot before you vote, and give you information on the candidates and the positions they are running for. (Finally you can get a handle on who your state representative in Harrisburg is and what exactly they do!)
Back in 2012, only 38 percent of people between the ages of 18-24 voted in the general election, and even fewer in the primary. Today, with online voter registration and incredible ease of finding information about candidates and polling places, there is absolutely no excuse for that number not to grow. If you live in the freshman dorms, your polling place will most likely be the Drexel Armory–you can stop by between classes! (If you live in affiliated or off campus housing you will have to do your own research; check www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us to find your polling place.)
No matter whether you’re voting for Bernie and the glorious socialist utopia, or Donald Trump and 1000 years of darkness, or Ted Cruz and the Christian theocracy as our founders intended, or Hillary Clinton and business as usual, or John Kasich and the brokered GOP convention that burns down Cleveland, get out to the polls April 26. Seriously, get out and vote! It’s your duty as an American citizen, and you get a cool sticker, too!