October 31, 2012

I recently voted, (by way of absentee ballot) and throughout the time that I was assessing all the various candidates, I seemed to have been enlightened by those around me. I was particularly excited to vote in this election because it marks the first time that I have been able to vote for president. Such enthusiasm seems scarce among many of peers, but nonetheless I remained excited.

A few instances reminded me of the privilege that I have to vote. I know of another person who when asked who might they vote for responded, “I’m not registered to vote…” This immediately prompted me to put on my voting advocacy hat and to tell this person how important it is to participate in the political process and what it took for everyone to gain that right.

I was successful, this person eventually registered to vote right here on campus and even brought another friend to register.

I felt a little better about my day when I heard this news, knowing that I did my part to help get more people to vote. When it comes down to it, I usually do not first ask who people are voting for, and unfortunately I frequently have to ask “are you registered to vote?”

This is the reality of the times for us young people, but I believe that we have slowly improved. I remember in the past elections when MTV and other “hip” networks started voting campaigns, which mostly seemed unsuccessful. I remember scoffing at them thinking, why would I vote because P. Diddy is telling me to? I do not blame them for trying, but if someone isn’t up for voting I am not sure how much a reality television network can convince them. Perhaps if Honey Boo Boo told young people to vote, she would get their attention… just kidding.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I think anyone who has the ability to vote is obligated to practice that ability and right. I know too many people who cannot vote because of legal status and would be very eager to vote if they had the ability to do so.

This is one of the various reasons that young people need to step it up this election. If not, I will find it hard to give credibility or thought to those complaining about things in America, but who didn’t vote.

This is a great privilege that many of us get to partake in and it should never be taken for granted.