Politics and voting can be intimidating and daunting. It can be hard to differentiate fact from fiction on the internet and in the news cycle. Looking through the candidates for various elections can lead to an overload of information, and all of that information may not be easy to comprehend. However, casting a vote is a vital part of being an American.
Americans across the country are preparing for Election Day, and it is essential to have a plan in place for how you will be voting. Whether through an absentee ballot, early voting or in-person voting, voting is one of the most important civic duties of U.S. citizens. It is our opportunity to impact and affect change within our government.
When all of the news articles become overwhelming, online resources can help you simplify the issues. Websites like Ballotpedia can provide quick and easy information on any political issue or candidate. Ballotready.com is another website that allows the user to complete their ballot before heading to the polls. This can make election day stress-free and much faster. If you are unsure which presidential candidate your beliefs align with, ISideWith.com provides a painless, free and easy quiz on your stance on political issues. At the conclusion of the quiz, your results will show which presidential candidate your belief system most correlates to.
As far as voting is concerned, Berry students have a couple of different options. In Georgia, in-person early voting began on Oct. 12. Students traveling home before election day may be able to take advantage of this option. Absentee voting is also available via mail-in ballots. These ballots are due by 5 p.m. on election day. And of course, voting can be done at the polls on election day. Specific voting times and locations can be found on sos.ga.gov for Georgia residents. Out-of-state students should check with their local Board of Registrar’s office for specific dates and times.
The Berry Campus Info Desk is also mailing absentee ballots for students. The deadline to drop off ballots at the info desk is Oct. 26, to ensure that ballots make it to your hometown before election day. On each state’s respective Secretary of State website, a voter portal can be accessed where voting times, locations and registration/absentee ballot status can be found.
This election cycle is unique because it involves so many critical issues. It is not just a race between Trump and Biden. The next president will have the power to decide COVID-19 policies and rights for people of color and LGBTQ+ groups. For many people, voting can feel like choosing the lesser of two evils, but it is important to remember that you are voting on issues and the future of our government. Forget about names and social status. Choose the candidate that believes in the things that you believe in and support the candidate or party that you agree with. Do not let the beliefs of your family, community or friends sway your vote. Each vote counts and every person should vote.
As American citizens, we also need to recognize how valuable our vote is. It is not only a right, but also a privilege. Not everyone can vote. DACA recipients, undocumented immigrants and international residents do not have the same privilege that you might. So vote for them. Vote for the people who want to vote more than anyone else but are unable to.
With all of these resources at your fingertips, it is hard to argue that you are unable to vote. Don’t let the stress get to you and do your part. Apply for your absentee ballot and mail it back in. Vote early and in-person. Vote on election day at the polls. Wear your vote sticker with pride and make sure to tell everyone you know to vote because this is our chance for our voice to matter. Vote for what you believe in to make a better tomorrow.