The 2020 United States Presidential Election is less than two weeks away, and now that the voter registration deadline has passed, all that’s left to do is vote. It sounds like a simple task, yet 100 million eligible voters did not cast their ballot in the 2016 election. Voter suppression still exists today (this is a shameless plug for a previous article will catch you up to speed). However, sheer laziness is also a root cause.
This year, Drexel University has announced that they would be closing at 2 p.m. on Election Day to allow time for students and faculty to vote. As the final countdown begins, it has become vital that we encourage everyone around us to vote. We live in a country where we can have a say in our political leaders, and it is up to us to use our vote wisely when making this decision. I have always felt passionate about voting and participating in civic duty, and with this being my first time eligible to vote in the general election, this is a monumental moment for me. With the current political climate, the fight for basic human rights and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this election will be one we remember forever.
I never expected my first time voting would be by mail. However, this doesn’t discredit the value of my vote and should definitely not be a reason to prevent voters from participating. Many counties have ballot collection sites for voters to drop off their sealed envelopes which makes the process so much easier. They still give you the “I Voted” sticker, too! There are also polling locations open across counties on Election Day if you choose to vote in person as well.
Like many people, I have been aggressively checking the election’s statistics and forecasts by county; however, these are merely predictions. Early data may suggest one outcome, but we cannot blindly believe that because they are just maps. If everyone assumes their neighbor is going to vote and there is no need to fill out their own ballot, the outcome will be much different than predicted. Our communities count on us to do our part, and we must rise to the occasion.
With the abundance of resources we have access to, not knowing who to vote for is not an acceptable reason to opt out. However, that doesn’t mean blindly voting without doing your research is acceptable either. USA Facts is a non-partisan organization with a focus to make government data easy for all Americans to access and understand. One of their most helpful features during this time is their Voter Center. The Voter Center allows users to look up candidates by name — including presidents, senators, congressmen and governors — and provides information on their policies, prior work experience and platforms for change. The website provides easy-to-understand graphical data, as well as articles that describe the data in more detail. When we have the ability to really understand who we are voting for and what they stand for, we fill out our ballots with intention and meaning.
Time is ticking and it is up to you to do the right thing. VOTE! Use the power of social media to encourage your family, friends, neighbors and everyone around you to take part in the election. Do your research and don’t expect others to vote if you don’t.