Opinion: College students need to vote!

The 2020 election is pitting democratic nominee, Joe Biden, against current president, Donald Trump. With such a controversial and important election coming up, voting is more important now than ever, especially for college students. 

For many though, voting is not a priority. In the 2000 election, The U.S. Census Bureau reported only a 40.3 percent voter turnout amongst 18 to 29-year-olds, significantly lower than in both 1996 and 1992. In the 2016 election, these numbers resurged to a 46.1 percent voter turnout amongst 18 to 29-year-olds.

According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagements at Tufts University, in the 2016 election, the votes of these young citizens were key in states such as Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. 

Without these votes, the 2016 election might have looked different. The importance of voting cannot be stressed enough, specifically for college students.

The 26th Amendment gives people 18 years of age and older the right to vote. Not only is it your right to vote, it is also your duty.

As American citizens, we are taught that when we do not like something about our government, we must do something to change it. Whether it is by protesting or writing to our senators and representatives, it is our duty to enact the change we want to see. Enacting change can be as simple as voting. Casting your vote in the election means actively taking part in your government. It means actively showing how much you care for your country and showing the patriotism that America is known for. 

Although many believe that their vote will not make a difference, it will. The 2016 election proved that. Not only does the vote of college students make a difference, it also determines the future. It determines the kind of future you will grow up in and it determines the kind of future your children will grow up in, as well as future generations of your family.

Not only is it our right and duty to vote, it is also a privilege. Many countries do not have the opportunity to vote. For these citizens, their voices have become marginalized. They must grow up in a country where their voices are not truly heard and where they do not have the opportunity to determine their future.

But for the United States, this is not the case. We should be humbled that we have this right. We should be grateful that we can make our voices heard and known. That we do have the right to vote and mold our country into what we want it to be. 

That is the beauty of a democracy. As Abraham Lincoln once said in The Gettysburg Address, our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people” and it “shall not perish from the earth.”

As election day looms nearer, ask yourselves what kind of future you want for yourself and how much that future matters to you. Because your vote does make a difference and it does matter. Your vote could be the difference that changes America. 

Do you want someone else to determine your future or do you want to determine it?

If you are not registered to vote in Kentucky, it is as easy as visiting https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/?ref=voteusa and registering online. Once you have been registered you will receive confirmation of your voter status in the mail, which will have further information on where and how you can vote. 

The deadline to register is Oct. 5, so if you plan to vote, or want to, be sure to register before then.

No matter how you feel during this election, remember how important your vote is. Remember that you have the right to vote and many worked hard to give you this right. If anything, think about those who do not have this right. Think about those who would give anything to have their voices heard. 

If this resonates with you, then vote. Whether by mail or in-person, remember that your vote counts no matter what. It could be the difference between the America you want to see for years to come.

So, go out and vote. Make sure that your voice is heard.

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