Photo by Lizzy Dermody
Voting season is now upon us. This presidential election is said to be one for the books as Donald Trump and Joe Biden take the stage to discuss their policies and ideals.
Politics is often seen as stressful and burdensome, and young voters are the least likely to turn out to the polls yet are the most affected by each election.
“Voting is crucial, but still a first step. Get involved with a political group as soon as you can,” said Sam Nelson (‘21).
Alma College offers various clubs that allow students to understand and learn about different political groups. Many say that getting involved is an integral part of becoming an informed citizen.
Registering to vote is the first dive into the ocean of politics. Each state has a different date in which registering to vote must be completed, and other avenues such as mail-in voting exist to help those who may not be able to vote in person.
For Michigan the final date one can register to vote is Oct. 19th. If you would like to mail in your vote you can do so now through Oct. 19th in order to ensure your vote is counted.
Unlike some states, Michigan does allow for voters to register on voting day, but it is only available at specific locations in your town, not your polling place.
Voting has long been seen as a tedious task, and one that many Americans feel has lost its value within the Electoral College.
“Voting has that benefit of encouraging you to be involved and aware. There are some studies that show that people feel better about the country when they vote,” said Dr. Britt Cartrite, professor of political science.
Although voting has been proven to boost morale among Americans, young voters are the least likely to turn out to the polls and vote. Many feel as though their vote doesn’t count and are oftentimes discontent with one or more party’s representatives.
Mail-in voting has often been an avenue for those who find themselves in a different state than their home state during this time, or for those who simply can’t make it to the polls.
Many worry about whether or not their vote will make it on time, due in part to the ongoing pandemic but also the issues that have arisen this year with the USPS.
“It is safe to vote by mail, but there is potential for delays. If you want your ballot to count, you should make a plan to get your absentee ballot today,” said Nelson.
For those who are in a different state, or in a different part of the state, mail-in voting is a useful tool. Those who utilize mail-in voting can track their ballot online to ensure everything goes through, and can even request a new ballot if there is an issue with the one they previously sent in.
Voting goes beyond registering and showing up to the polls, though. In order to vote one must be aware of the state of our government and its systems.
Many citizens currently feel as though a shift needs to happen within our government, be them from the left or right.
“You can actually have a real impact at the local level. That’s another reason to get involved and participate. Most of the rules, regulations and laws that impact your day to day life are done at the state level, not the national or local level,” said Cartrite.
There has often been talk of change happening at the local, state and national levels of our government. Many political scientists are seeing a shift in the people’s wants, as well as institutions and systems within our government that may be failing.
“It seems like our institutions are starting to struggle. I think it’s a good time to get involved, especially as a young person, because the world is changing fast,” said Cartrite.
Collective thinking of the people is what moves the country along, and voting is one avenue that allows voices to be heard and change to be made no matter what you stand for.