As November rapidly approaches, so does the date in which Americans from across the country will vote for the next President of the United States. The impending election is one that will make history, either way it shakes out; Trump will either win a second term, or America will see its first Black Vice President. In fact, this is arguably the most important election within recent memory. As COVID-19 ravages the country and California is engulfed in flames, the upcoming presidential election could determine whether more people live or die. The nation is stuck in a deep divide as political issues morph into personal ones (wearing masks, coronavirus precautions, Black Lives Matter, gay marriage, etc.). I am not here to tell you who to vote for or push my own political agenda; I am, however, imploring you to vote, whatever that may mean for you.
To many, the 2016 election was the start of the “American divide.” Some citizens became die-hard Trump fans, while others sided with Hillary. Both sides gained radicals, for better or worse. This suddenly clear split became entirely about personal values and morality instead of just politics; people who had never been interested in politics before were suddenly appearing in the first row of rallies or marches. For better or worse, things became personal for many individuals, which meant that everyone in between (i.e. undecided voters and non-political people) was forced to choose a side or risk scrutiny for their perceived indecisiveness.
Furthermore, some that did not feel a connection to either candidate decided to write in names on the ballot instead of voting for one of the named candidates. This is not only a throw away vote, as the likelihood of a write-in candidate winning is incredibly low, but it is also a giant slap in the face to those whose lives depend on the outcome of the election. Just because something does not personally affect you doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Whether that means voting for Trump or Biden, voting sends the message that you see what’s going on in the world and you are actively trying to change it however you see it. Not voting, on the other hand, sends the message that you do not care about your country or your fellow citizens. Voting is a civic duty that all Americans are expected to participate in –every time, no matter what.
No matter what this election personally means to you, it is absolutely essential that you make your voice heard on Nov. 3. Whether you decide to vote in-person or by mail, your vote is an integral part of maintaining the stability of this country and therefore securing a future for the next generations. Even if you are not strongly tied to one candidate or the other, those who are beg you to vote. It could literally be the difference between life and death.
To find out more, please visit UNI’s Office of the Registrar or vote.org. These are both great resources for more information on the upcoming election. If you are not sure which candidate best aligns with your views or just want to find out more about them, visit ballotpedia.org for a quick run-down of each candidate’s platform.
Remember, no matter who you decide to vote for on Nov. 3 (or earlier), simply showing up is huge. Send the message that you care about your peers (and the future of this country) and cast your vote today.