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May 11 2016

Make Your Vote Matter

votegiphyAs the Presidential election is swiftly approaching, it sparks some interest on college campuses as certain clubs rally around candidates; however, how many people walking by those screaming students handing out flyers and buttons actually know who they are talking about?

You may recognize the names of the candidates — maybe you have seen a few of them on TV, or on Facebook and Twitter. Well, I want everyone to take this knowledge further. We need to be able to cast an informed vote in this presidential election because it is our right, as well as our duty as U.S. citizens. It is not as difficult as it seems to become politically informed. This article will provide you with the helpful hints so that, come November, you are comfortable when you step inside the polling booth.
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There have been far too many occurrences where college students have claimed they are not going to vote because they are not politically educated enough to make a valid decision. While this is a fair statement, the real issue is why. Why, as capable, intelligent, inspiring, young people, do we not know about the issues and controversies that will shape our country for the rest of our lives?

Well, there are a few logical reasons — first of all, we are crazy busy. We have homework, class, work, internships, and clubs, all while trying to maintain a social life. There is no question that this is one of the most hectic times in our lives. With all of the required readings we have to do between class and other commitments, let’s face it, sitting down and reading the newspaper or various online articles about current events is not exactly on the top of our priority lists. Furthermore, we are at an age where common social conversation does not often involve politics, unlike most adults. This makes it difficult for politics to seem relevant in our daily lives, but we shouldn’t dumb ourselves down just because we are expected to. It is within our power to educate ourselves, so why not take advantage of it?

Although we are busy and political conversations are not really a hot topic in the college social scene, it is time for our generation to become relevant and proactive, specifically in the 2016 presidential election. First of all, most of us are at an age where we can vote, which means that this is another opportunity to make a decision based on our own beliefs and opinions. As leaders, it is up to us to seize this opportunity.

Second of all, voting is our duty as U.S. citizens. We live in a country founded on freedom, and, in order to keep this foundation alive, we must take advantage of our privilege to vote. For centuries, many people across the globe have fought and died for this privilege. To us, this concept might seem distant and unrelatable, but it is essential to recognize the value of our right. It is a common complaint regarding our generation that we possess an unwarranted sense of entitlement, and not voting would be a prime example of this. We need to prove everyone wrong by getting engaged in opportunities that are bigger than ourselves. This starts by taking advantage of every chance we get to have a voice. Many people say that their vote will not make a difference, but that is not the attitude of a confident, proactive leader. Every vote counts, and the more educated we can be on the matter, the more our votes will mean.

Now, how does a busy college student become informed on the latest political news? The same way we get informed on just about everything else: social media. We have endless information right at our fingertips. Twitter has several great pages including CNN Politics, Politico, and ABC News Politics. By following these pages, your political news will be mixed in with your feed. One moment you are looking at the latest Beyonce gif and the next you are scrolling by the current GOP results. You’ll be a political wiz before you know it.

There are also a lot of really informative apps out there that can help with this issue. Some of my favorites are CNN, Washington Post, and Buzzfeed News. These apps give you updates and notifications about important occurrences throughout the presidential race. This way you don’t have to search through newspapers and online articles to find information. Instead, your phone buzzes, and BAM! you know who just won the Indiana State Primary. Also, I find that the articles on Buzzfeed News are not quite as dense as other traditional news providers. They present information in a way that is easy to understand because of their casual nature. Another way to become informed on this presidential election is to talk about it. Family and friends are great resources, but it is important to push yourself to ask questions and challenge their opinions. Don’t be afraid to form an opinion of your own. Don’t be afraid to express that opinion. This attitude is what has made our country great. Stay informed, ask questions, and help make a difference.

See you at the polls!
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