Since the 2008 presidential election, more than 2 million people have become naturalized and will be first-time voters on November 6 this year. Among them, young minorities makes up a large fraction of the percentage, myself included. It’s alarming that only about half of eligible young voters actually turned out at the polls in the 2008 elections. That’s more than 20 million young people who didn’t exercise their right to vote!
It’s not just the duty of being a citizen to exercise my voting rights, but I’m excited to have my voice be heard for the first time. Here’s why you should go out and vote and what things to keep in mind:
- For young voters like myself — especially if you’re a first-timer — it’s important to read up on each candidate and his or her stand concerning issues such as healthcare, education, employment, taxes. etc., before making a choice. All those are important issues that affect young people directly whether immediate or gradual, so we should have a say in the laws that gets implemented. The only way to have our voice be heard is to go out and vote for the candidate that supports our views.
- If you’re a recent graduate or just entered into the work force, you should know that the Congress, the president, the governor and our legislators influence what job training is available, minimum wage, job and pension security, fairness in hiring, health insurance through your employer, interest rates on student loans and workplace safety.
- The elected officials and judges we vote into office make daily decisions about crime prevention, laws and law enforcement, safe and affordable homes, where to put schools, parks and recreation.
- If young people keep on skipping out on voting, politicians would not consider us to be a deciding factor in their campaigns. We risk being ignored in re-elections and future decision-making. We have the most to gain and lose in any election because we have to live with the consequences longer than older folks.
- In the last two elections, the percentage of minorities who voted were 15-20 percent less than whites. If we want to represent, then every eligible minority voter should vote.
- Polling Places open from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M. Make sure you bring your drivers license or state ID.
I’m excited to go out and vote for my choice of candidate tomorrow! This will be my first time voting, but certainly not the last.