When I turned 18 years old, I got a lot of congratulations from friends on finally being able to legally buy cigarettes. Ironically for them, I don’t smoke.
I was far more excited to finally exercise my right to vote.
The unfortunate part was that I turned 18 after the 2008 presidential election had already happened. The first election I could legally cast my vote for was a primary election, where I voted for a county executive and court of common pleas judge.
Even though my first election wasn’t the most exciting one, getting my first “I voted today” sticker put a big smile on my face.
But, things are different this year. I now have the chance to vote in my first presidential election, and I am excited.
Why am I so happy? I can pick who I want to represent me as the commander in chief of the United States of America for the first time ever. If I don’t vote, then I think my role as a citizen diminishes greatly.
I believe that if you have the chance to exercise your right as an American citizen and vote for your representatives in government, then you need to take advantage of it. If you choose otherwise, then you have no right to object to the policies enacted or question the direction our country is going. You choose against making your voice heard, so I don’t want to hear your complaining.
Plenty of resources are available for you to make sure you vote in the election this year. I plan on applying in the next few days for an absentee ballot in my home state of Pennsylvania, as I’m sure plenty of other students plan to do from their home states. On campus, the Office of Student Activities, Student Union and the “Streak the Vote” campaign all offer ways to make sure you are active during this all-important election season.
Of course, in order to actually be able to vote, you have to make sure you’re registered, either here or in your home area. Voter registration in Ohio ends on Oct. 9, and the Office of Student Activities, Center for Service and Social Action, Grasselli Library and the Student Union office all have voter registration forms you can fill out before that date. If you’re from someplace else, make sure you’re in compliance with their voting regulations and deadlines.
Also, stay informed on all the pertinent issues affecting our nation. From health care, to the economy, to education or social issues, each of us has something that affects us deeply, or that we’re passionate to learn more about. Keep up with the issues by reading, viewing and/or listening to the news. We at The Carroll News will continue to do our best to make sure you are a well-informed voter come Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Find out about the candidates: where do they come from, what experiences make them qualified to either retain their job/earn the job, what do they stand for and why should they be counted upon by voters? Besides the issues, a candidate’s personal qualities shape who they are and how they will govern if elected/re-elected.
Some campus organizations are planning watch parties during the presidential debates and on election night. Healthy conversation among students on the candidates and the issues can keep us all informed and invigorated about exercising our right to vote.
The bottom line is that I tend to think we, as Americans, have a duty to vote and send a message to those who represent us, or those who want to. Resources are plentiful to make sure we exercise our patriotic duty.
Election 2012 is going to be a big event. Don’t miss out on the party.