Updated: Aug 28
There are about two months until the official presidential election in the United States, and whether you are of age to vote or not, you have a place in the upcoming elections. The United States is a democracy, meaning the governed participate in politics. The fifteenth amendment in the United States Constitution gives every American citizen the right to vote. Voting is one example of political participation. The ability to vote was fought for by certain groups (women and people of color) for an extensive period of time. Today, no one has to fight for the fifteenth amendment’s application to all, so express your gratitude and vote.
What age do you need to be to vote in the United States? To vote you have to be eighteen years or older; however, just because everyone younger than eighteen legally cannot participate in the election does not mean they cannot participate socially. The younger generation is the voice of the era and there are so many ways to express the importance of voting. However, with COVID-19 in mind, we have to adjust our encouragement safely and accordingly. First, most people have the privilege to access a wide versatility of social media platforms. Use social media platforms to encourage voting and inspire your friends to do the same. Another simple action is to have conversations. Conversing with others opens the door to disagreements, but with confidence and determination, you can get your point across respectfully. When indulging with someone about elections you might be struck with the rebuttal: “People's votes do not count.” If you do encounter that statement, I am going to prepare you for your response.
A brief lesson on why citizen votes DO count:
The electoral college is made up of 538 Congress members (100 senators and 438 representatives), all of which directly vote for the president of the United States.
Each state is given 3 electoral votes to start and the remainder of the 538 votes get dispersed amongst the states according to its population. Smaller states get fewer electoral votes and larger states get more electoral votes.
The people in each state then cast their ballot and their electoral votes will be submitted supporting the majority chosen. This process is called the electoral majority.
Ex: If 70% of Illinois choose Candidate A and 30% choose Candidate B, the electoral votes of Illinois will be submitted into congress for Candidate A because it is the majority of the states pick.
All fifty states except Nebraska and Maine use the electoral majority system.
What is the voting protocol during COVID-19? COVID-19 may have canceled a lot of things but not the American right to vote! The first step is to make sure you are registered. To find your state’s specific protocol for voting and registration, visit https://www.vote.org/covid-19/ for information on how it will be conducted.
Before you submit your ballot be sure to research the candidates and their morals, promises, political background, and past records. Make the decision wisely as the person you choose could be affecting your day to day life for the next eight years.