Breaking Down Elections for New Voters
Ciara Anderson | July 11, 2022
For many students in Generation Z, a majority of us are just now turning 18, or turned 18 recently. This means that we will be eligible to vote in the United States. Now more than ever do students need to cast their votes and allow their voices to be heard at the ballots. Why? Well, in case you haven’t caught up with the news lately, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion. Now, millions of women and girls will enter a post-Roe era in which their reproductive rights are not secure. Additionally, many minority groups are continuing to be mistreated and marginalized in every way. And should I even bother to mention that raging epidemic known in America as gun violence?
But, for many Gen Z-ers, a lot of students have no idea how to register to vote or know what they’re even voting for. So, here’s a helpful guide to make the voting process for you this November a little easier.
First and foremost, make sure to mark it on your calendar now that Election Day is November 8, 2022. In many cities and voting districts, there may be special elections and primaries that occur throughout the year, so it's important to take note of any additional dates that you may need to keep an eye out for in your area.
Secondly, it's important to know who and what you're voting for. Many voters go into the polls blindly and don't really know who the person they're voting for is or what their policies are looking like. Many candidates for special positions will mail information to your house. In some cases there will be campaign events in your area, or a "get to know the candidates" kind of function. But in case you want to learn more, there's many resources available online to aid in making smart voting decisions at the polls. Try checking out websites such as ballotpedia.org, vote.org, vote411.org, or rockthevote.org to get more information about candidates, policies, and laws. An informed vote is the best one!
Thirdly, it is incredibly important to plan out what voting day will look like for you. In many cases, an early voting period will be available to alleviate stress at the polls and ensure that everyone's voice is heard come election day. Make sure your voter registration and necessary identification are readily available and updated. Also, you have to decide if you'll be voting in person or completing mail-in voting. Mail-in voting has been an incredibly controversial method of voting recently due to the 2020 Presidential Election, but mail-in ballots are pretty self explanatory. The rules regarding who can complete absentee (mail-in) voting varies by State and Territory, so you can utilize those helpful links above to find out if you qualify! Locate a voting poll that's close to you! Many civic centers, libraries, and schools become easy-access voting polls during election season, so make sure you find one that's closest to you. Ensure that, if you'll be going to the polls physically that you arrive within enough time to vote before they close in the evening. There can be lines, so be patient!
So! Mark It, Inform It, Plan It! Those are the go-to steps towards making an informed voting decision on election day. Good luck!