Registering to Vote: A Necessary Action

Voter registration for young people is important

The state website is the easiest way to register to vote in Nebraska. It can be found by searching “Official Nebraska Government Website.” There are guidelines in order to register to vote prior to turning 18 years old. However, teens who are already 18 can register right away with only a few clicks.

Photo courtesy of Official Nebraska Government Website

The state website is the easiest way to register to vote in Nebraska. It can be found by searching “Official Nebraska Government Website.” There are guidelines in order to register to vote prior to turning 18 years old. However, teens who are already 18 can register right away with only a few clicks.

Elizabeth Hahn, Entertainment Editor

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September 25 was National Voter Registration Day, which is a very important event in today’s political climate, as everyone deserves their voice to be heard. Some teenagers choose not to take part in the voting process because they don’t understand politics or don’t care. It’s unfortunate because everyone should care. Our future depends on the kind of leaders we are electing, as they make all the huge decisions that affect so many lives.

It is completely necessary for seniors turning 18 to register to vote as soon as possible. In the last election, the amount of participation for young people was very low. In fact, according to the US Census, only 46.1% of eligible voters from ages 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 election. This is an increase from 2012, but it is still significantly less than the older generations’ percentages. Some of these young people didn’t vote then went on to complain about the new leaders and how they’re running the country. Not saying that people who didn’t vote can’t express their opinion, but they need to express these opinions in the polls, instead of after the election happens.

There are many different aspects to why teenagers should care about politics. One is that the leader we elect has a lot of power to make changes that they see fit. Voting allows one to elect someone who holds the same ideals they have. Prior to elections, candidates participate in debates and talk about what types of policies they would apply as president. It’s easy to figure out who holds the same values and will change things the way the voter sees is best. Another reason why young people should care is that their vote counts.

Every vote matters. If teenagers want a better future, then they need to come together and hit the polls.

Before registering to vote, it’s important to research who’s running and see what they stand for. This can be done with a simple Google search of a candidates name and what they want to do when it comes to certain issues we face in America. Debates have already taken place among the Democratic Party candidates, which is also a great way to find someone to vote for. There are many different people running who have widely distributed opinions. Candidates have a variety of ideas for policies to help with issues. There is a lot of thought that goes into what they would change if they were to win. The policies are also easy to find and cover many topics such as climate change, gun control, immigration and more. It is extremely likely that voters will be able to choose one who they identify with. Having personal beliefs and applying them to find a candidate is an important step and knowing who to vote for encourages young people to register. Researching these candidates is the easiest way to get involved in politics.

In many cases, young people hold strong opinions. On social media, teens are outspoken about their beliefs on the tragic events that take place in the United States. For example, Cameron Kasky, Parkland survivor and co-founder of March For Our Lives, takes to Twitter to respond to people who think gun control is unnecessary. Last week he tweeted “If you ‘need’ a gun like that to put food on the table in 2019, I’d recommend you reach out to the government for some assistance,” in response to a man who claimed he needed a gun for any and every situation in life including feeding his family. Being opinionated is never a bad thing. In politics, it’s actually a very good thing if the person is educated on the topic they’re forming an opinion on. Our country is an amazing place, but there are also so many issues that need to be solved. We have mass shootings, arguments about illegal immigration, and the increasing risks of climate change. 

These topics are prevalent in social media almost daily. Outspoken teens post what they think should be done for the problems we are facing. Although some aren’t old enough to vote yet, many are. These young adults can apply the opinions they’re tweeting about into voting for a candidate that can benefit our future. Registering to vote is essential if these teenagers want their opinions to come to fruition.

We need young voters because as time has passed, the differentiation of opinions between age groups has increased. Young people are typically very inclusive and accepting. Instances of racism, homophobia, transphobia and more are much less prevalent among younger age groups. It’s upsetting to us to see older generations not being there for all different types of people. I’m not saying that all older people are not accepting of others who may look different or have different lifestyles than them. However, there has been a trend of videos being uploaded to the internet depicting older generations telling someone of color to “go back to their country” or telling people in the LGBTQ+ community that they “don’t agree with their lifestyle.” 

According to an ABC News article “Two women at a Burger King tell manager to ‘go back to Mexico’,” elderly women at a Burger King in Florida were uncomfortable hearing the manager speak to one of the employees in Spanish. One of the women decided to confront him and went as far as to say This is America and our main language is English…Go speak your Mexican at home.” The manager wasn’t even from Mexico and on top of that, this is an incredibly disrespectful way to treat people. It was completely based on prejudice, as they were uncomfortable with someone speaking Spanish, which is widely spoken in Hispanic countries. These women are ignorant enough to think that all people who speak Spanish are from Mexico and don’t belong here. Some of the leaders elected push this rhetoric, which encourages these prejudiced voters to elect them. Judgemental leaders make people think treating others in this way is okay.

It’s rough to see these occurrences knowing that the people in these videos represent a large margin of voters for our leaders. Their opinions drive candidates that hold the same values to the top. The majority of young people want to live in a country where they can be free to be who they are without the risk of being dragged down. This is another reason why teens need to register to vote when they turn 18. 

Our country is being molded to how the older generations see fit, but we can be the ones who change that. Voting is so easy and ensures that our country won’t be shaped by these outdated opinions.

It’s very true when people say that this new wave of voters can change the United States for the better. According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is on track to be the most diverse voting population. We have a variety of people of different ethnic backgrounds in our generation, which means that all different people will be represented by voting in the future. This is such an advantage for us. Gen Z is very inclusive, which means that we are going to be able to come together to make decisions that will benefit the diverse population the United States has. The leader of our country should be someone who can benefit all people, not someone who only cares about what will benefit the wealthy white man. This generation can gather to elect leaders that are fit to lead us to the best country we can be, but this can only happen if people register to vote.

As teenagers, we are used to being told “Your opinion doesn’t matter.” The older generations think they are a powerful force that we can’t break. It’s upsetting because we all have a voice that should be heard. Despite what the older generations say, our opinions can be the ones to change our country for the better. Registering to vote and actually voting is the best way to use these voices. We are the future of this country and the generations following are counting on us to make our country a safe and happy place. To register to vote in Nebraska, one must be 18 on or before the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November. The best way to register is at the Official Nebraska Government Website. Seniors don’t forget to take the opportunity to use this special right we have and register. We can make a better future for this country if we all come together.

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