Students Acknowledge, Stress Importance of Voting in Upcoming Election

Despite voter exclusion attempts, young people must turn out to ballots

Students+Acknowledge%2C+Stress+Importance+of+Voting+in+Upcoming+Election

Zoe Florida

Meara Sullivan, Contributing Writer

This past month I cast my first ballot and while in reality I simply marked dots on a piece of paper, I truly felt very empowered; I felt like my voice was being heard, and I encourage my peers to do the same.

Despite my voting success, throughout our country the voice of the American people that is expressed through elections is unjustly suppressed for voters of color. Excluding such a large number of eligible voters is not okay and it is imperative that these gaps are closed.

Our country’s history shows that clear methods to silence minority groups have been attempted, through poll taxes, literacy tests, the grandfather clause, and more. Even today, restrictive policies, such as registration deadlines, photo ID requirements, and racially motivated redistricting, make voting difficult. And because automatic restoration is not the standard in some states, previously incarcerated felons who have served their time, many people of color, have indefinitely lost their right to vote.

Pew research center found that in 2016 26.7% of voters were racial minorities (black, hispanic, asian), while 73.3% of voters were white, despite the most “ethnically and racially diverse” voting population ever. For now, we must use our voice to speak up for those without one. Far too many young people believe their voice doesn’t matter, but it truly does.

Gen Z and Millennial voters take up a huge part of the voting population, and if all young people voted, the results of an election could be swayed drastically! To be educated on politics is easier now more than ever, and no one “doesn’t know enough” to vote. While registering to vote can seem overwhelming and time consuming, it can be easy.

A simple search to vote.org, allows you to check your registration, request absentee ballots, and is an easy resource for all your voting questions. Looking forward, I hope all of us can work together to motivate others to use their voice, and in doing so, speak up for those without great privilege of voting.