We are, without a doubt, in the midst of an extremely turbulent time in our nation’s history. With the 2020 election around the corner, many are looking forward with a mixture of hope and dread, regardless of where they stand politically.
For those who need to hear it, your vote does matter; our democratic system functions properly only if everyone participates.
However, with that comes the added responsibility on the voters to not only show up to the polls (or in the case of this election, show up to the mailbox), but to also be informed on what and who they are voting for. It is likely, if you are a college student, that this is the first presidential election that you are going to be participating in.
That is so exciting, but also very stressful.
There’s a lot of pressure that comes with casting your vote. Perhaps the idea of choosing the candidate for whatever party your parents usually vote for is appealing. But if you don’t know what you are voting for, how can you possibly hope to see the changes you want?
With all that said, here are some ways that you can be an informed voter in this upcoming election.
- Keep up with the news
Most major networks have mobile apps that you can download to make checking the news easy and convenient. You can make a habit of checking in the morning, while you drink your coffee, before you go to bed or during the times you might be scrolling through Instagram or Twitter.
By staying up to date with what’s happening in the world, and in the United States, you can form a better idea of the things you would like to change.
2. Know the issues
Know what the big issues on the table are. This election is going to focus heavily on reform in regards to the environment, the police, health care and many other things. It is important that you consider what these issues mean to you, where you stand, and why that is.
3. Know the Candidates
One of the best things you can do to get a sense of the candidates is to watch the debates on television. This will not only give you an idea of who the candidates are and what they intend to do if elected, but it will also show you how the candidates are (or are not) able to handle a civil discourse with a person who holds differing and opposing views.
Following the candidates on social media will also give you daily reminders of who these politicians are and what promises they are making.
4. Know what is at stake
Above all, as a voter, it is your responsibility to consider the impact your vote has not only on your life, but on the lives of those who will follow you. Before you vote, take some serious time to consider the effect that your vote may have on the generations to come.
Be sure to always keep your mind open. Get your news from multiple sources and consider every argument thoughtfully. Voting is a big responsibility and doing it right can take up a lot of your time and energy, but our democracy only works if we all do our best to remain informed and active!