Despite an improvement in voter turnout in the November 2018 midterm elections and in many 2019 state elections, people still think their vote isn’t that important. Huh?
I have heard it all before and I have thought it all myself. As a matter of fact, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't vote last year. After educating myself on voting and on the issues that those in power have control over, I quickly realized that I have power to make a change and do amazing things.
Here are solutions to a few excuses I have heard regarding voting.
"The process of registering to vote is aggravating."
I thought this too until I was registered to vote at a music festival last summer. I was registered by HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. It took me all of five minutes to write my name down. You can register to vote in Georgia by visiting their website. If you are already registered and want to double check your status, you can do that at HeadCount as well.
"I don't live in the county I registered in, so I can't."
There is a thing called absentee voting. You can vote by mail by applying for an absentee ballot. You must apply before March 20 and the ballot must be received by the election day. Apply here.
"It takes too much time to educate myself on the candidates and what they stand for. I don't have the time."
There are many really great journalists and organizations who sum up politics and national issues in a clear and concise way. One of my favorites is Minute with Mads, @minutewithmads, on Instagram. Mads is a 23-year-old journalist who uses Instagram lives and posts to sum up major headlines.
Another favorite outlet of mine is TheSkimm. TheSkimm is a free email subscription that you can sign up for here. I love TheSkimm because the writers make the news comedic and fun to read.
“I just don’t care that much to vote.”
Don’t lie! Of all of the issues and political debates I see on Twitter, I know that everyone cares about something. Whether it is the right to bear arms, more gun control, free health care, women’s rights, abortion laws, immigration, the environment or social security, everyone has an opinion, and I bet everyone is very vocal on at least one of the mentioned topics.
This is where your newfound education comes in. All representatives have a stance on these issues and more. I’m sure you won’t agree with everything one person says, but it's good to know where you stand on certain issues, that way you can match your opinions and thoughts to those of the candidates.
No matter what side you are on or who you plan to vote for, I value your vote. Lawmakers value your vote. You should value your vote. Set aside time, register to vote and practice your 15th Amendment right. Georgia's Presidential Primary election is March 24.
Sarah Smith, The George-Anne Managing News Editor, email@example.com