One of the most critical actions one can take as a student is participating in the elections. Whether it’s for a small special election for your county or voting for the president, it’s critical that we, as citizens, educate ourselves and get out to make the vote. Voting as a student can be difficult and feel very limited, especially when living on campus, but lucky for us, there are a few resources to make sure we get our ballots in. In the day and age that we are lucky enough to be living in, most of the information you need is right at your fingertips.
The first thing you need to do to participate in any election is register to vote. You can register to vote in Pima County (or whatever county you’re currently living in) on the Service Arizona website, or simply type “register to vote in _____ county” (the blank being your county) into Google search, especially if you are not currently living in Arizona. Registering to vote is super easy. It takes about five minutes and is essential to you as your first step in participating in elections. Be sure to keep deadlines in mind! The deadline to register for the November (presidential) election is Monday, Oct. 5, in Arizona. If you are unsure about your ability to make it to the polls on election day, be sure to sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List, so a ballot will be sent to your place of residency and you have a few weeks to send it back before election day.
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In order to make educated votes that you are comfortable and confident in, a bit of research is required to read up about candidates and propositions, to make sure that you are making the best choices you can. One of my favorite tactics, again, is just typing the candidate or propositions into Google search and reading the positions on their official pages. Most of the time, this information is very idealized and generic, so if a candidate’s position on their website is not enough to convince you one way or another, a great resource is Ballotpedia. This site is amazing at giving you facts on a candidate’s current and past policies, what they’ve lobbied/voted for and who they are as a public servant behind the scenes. It is also a great way to break down the jargon that propositions are written in; it gives you facts in layman’s terms, which is always appreciated.
It is incredibly important to vote in every election in whatever county you’re living in, because your votes directly impact your life and the lives of everyone around you. I know many people feel “uncomfortable” and disengage when it comes to politics, but in our current climate, we do not have that privilege. The callous carelessness of our leaders is letting tens of thousands of innocent people die — whether it’s from COVID-19 or police brutality. Young people are the demographic that is least likely to vote, whether that’s because they feel they aren’t educated enough or they think they don’t have to care, it must change. We are in control of our future, and we have been presented with an amazing opportunity to decide what our country looks like for the health and safety of all its citizens.
Yes, every vote matters. Yes, every election matters. The resources for you are here, you just have to be willing to take the time to do what’s best for the country.
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