Advice to First-Time Voters

Gabriela Ruiz, Staff Writer

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It’s hard to believe that, in less than a year, Americans will go back to the ballots to elect the next president. For some Blue Valley High students, this upcoming election is especially significant. In November, many current upperclassmen will be eligible to vote for the first time.

For students who will be 18 on or before Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and meet the guidelines outlined in this link, it is crucial that they register to vote. After all, democracy only works with participation.

Aside from being a major personal milestone, joining the American electorate has larger implications than some may realize. BVHS students who vote next election will join a critical demographic that has the potential to be one of the most powerful in the country.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 make up a large portion of the population. In spite of this, they have consistently had the weakest turnout rates. In 2016, only 19% showed up to cast their votes. Paradoxically, they have also been the group most dissatisfied with the governance of the current administration. The only way the government will truly work for the citizens is if more people take advantage of their right to vote.

If you find politics disorienting or just blatantly boring, it’s ok. Regardless, it’s still important to vote. In this digital age, it is almost too easy to investigate the candidates to find the right one for you. There are even countless online personality quizzes that will match you directly to a contender based on your beliefs and values. That said, be sure to couple your research with a little common sense.

In Kansas, registering is a simple as visiting this website and entering some information. Even if you’re heading off to college in the fall, you can still register in your home state as an absentee voter to have your ballot sent to you. With that, you’ll be ready to go come November. Your journey shouldn’t end there, though. Being an engaged citizen means showing up for the next election too and the one after that and so on.

Never doubt that every vote counts. You have a voice. Use it.

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