Within the warmth of the 2016 election, I was a junior in faculty. I was busy with homework, finishing my research overseas utility, and doing a laundry listing of different issues that appeared so vital on the time. As a journalism main, my professors held me accountable for being conscious and on high of the information, and through an election cycle, it is laborious to not be continuously bombarded with headlines. I saved up with the candidates and did my greatest to tell myself of the place every one stood on sure points, however when it got here down to truly voting, I did not solid a poll.
I had been instructed time and time once more by my friends and even the media that one vote could not flip a state and that it in the end comes right down to the electoral faculty, so folks’s votes do not even matter in the broad scheme of issues. These notions have been ingrained into my thoughts till I in the end felt defeated and that my vote appeared ineffective. Even with my training on the political system and my sturdy views for girls’s rights, racial equality, and inexpensive healthcare, I selected to not make my vote rely. Wanting again now, that was one of many worst issues I might’ve carried out.
Being a straight white middle-class girl, the election — in my thoughts — didn’t seem to be it might pose a lot of a menace to me and my very own private life. Again then, I acknowledged that presidents held quite a lot of energy and made main choices for the nation, however I simply assumed that whoever took workplace could be somebody who made knowledgeable choices primarily based on what was greatest for the nation and, extra importantly, the folks in it. I knew of the checks and balances in the federal government and put my belief in the Structure to maintain these in energy accountable for his or her actions. To say that was naive is an understatement.
However the 2016 election was a important second for a lot of immigrants, folks of shade, and members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood who have been genuinely nervous about their capability to thrive — and even reside — in the US if Trump have been to change into president. For me to not acknowledge this, particularly when I had the facility to do one thing about it, was incorrect and utterly unacceptable. Simply because I didn’t suppose that my very own life could be personally affected by the one that took workplace (replace: it has been — learn: each method Trump has worked to hinder women’s rights), I had a voice and I ought to have used it. Not voting in any respect was basically giving a vote to Trump and letting my voice go silent. In doing so, I aided in taking away rights from countless immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, women, people of color, and other marginalized people.
The elevated voter suppression efforts we’re seeing in the lead as much as 2020 proves simply how a lot some in energy worry folks seizing their very own energy on the poll field.
Being instructed that my vote would not make a distinction was incorrect, and I want I had higher educated myself on the matter earlier than the election. Because the, I’ve realized the true energy of our vote. Whereas the electoral faculty is likely to be a flawed system, each vote does certainly rely —you possibly can learn extra about that here. If something, the increased voter suppression efforts we’re seeing in the lead as much as 2020 proves simply how a lot some in energy worry folks seizing their very own energy on the poll field.
I was curious to ask a few of my shut associates who did not vote in the 2016 election, both, (who’re additionally straight white middle-class girls), how they really feel about that call in hindsight.
Jesse Garrett, a junior at UCLA on the time of the 2016 election, additionally selected to not vote. “I had points with my registration being I was in LA and I was registered in OC, however my mom threw away my absentee poll, and I wasn’t certain find out how to go about it,” she instructed CelebrityPie. “Nonetheless, my primary cause (which is totally my very own fault and one thing I wish to work on this 12 months) is I didn’t really feel I was educated sufficient on the vast majority of points that I ought to be in anyplace to make the choice.”
Being and feeling uneducated a couple of candidate’s political stances shouldn’t be unusual. For some, it appears as if the problems are too complicated, the insurance policies are tough to understand, or there’s simply too a lot on the market to even try and study all of it. Fortunately, taking time to look into points that matter to you is a step in the precise route. From there, you possibly can see what every candidate helps (or does not help) in regards to the points and make an knowledgeable determination.
One more reason why some registered voters did not solid a poll in the final election was as a result of they did not help both candidate. “I didn’t need both candidate, which was one other excuse I used to not vote, however trying again, not voting was basically me supporting Trump whom I fervently don’t help,” Garrett mentioned. While you selected to not solid a poll, your political get together’s slate in the electoral faculty has much less of an opportunity of being represented, even whether it is by just one vote.
Campbell McLeod, one other registered voter and junior in faculty on the time of the election, had this to say about why she determined to not vote: “I didn’t have my sh*t collectively sufficient to have the self-discipline/urgency to truly present up, and on high of that, I suppose there wasn’t sufficient consciousness on the place I might really go to vote, after which [I] tried to determine the mail-in poll however was in my fourth house since dwelling in town and my driver’s license handle hadn’t been up to date. So quite a lot of excuses, but in addition if there had been a better, extra communicated technique to do it, I suppose that may get much more folks to vote.”
Being conscious of when elections are, find out how to be sure you’re registered to vote, and in the end holding your self accountable to your poll are an important issues you are able to do as a voter. By casting a poll, it is possible for you to to talk up for the unvoiced and be an ally to who want and deserve your help. Standing up for causes you imagine in and electing officers who care in regards to the folks in this nation will get us one step nearer to attaining justice and liberty for all. This election 12 months, I will make my vote rely, and I hope you may do the identical.