BY MELANIE RAIBLE
POLITICS – Millennials seem to be the most vocal about change on social media. However, when it comes to voting in elections, they usually have the lowest turnout. The 2018 midterm elections are less than 30 days away, and it’s important that young people get out and vote.
Midterm elections are held halfway between presidential elections and ultimately determine which political party (Democratic or Republican) will control each chamber of Congress for the next two years.
During this upcoming election in November, 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. U.S. voters will also choose all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is the lower chamber of Congress.
The U.S. Senate is made up of 51 Republican seats and 47 Democrats, plus two Independents (politicians not affiliated with a party). Of the 35 seats up for election this year, 26 of them are being held by Democrats and nine by Republicans. This means in order for Democrats to win the majority, they must defend all 26 of their seats and take two seats from Republicans.
Salisbury University student Jasmine Jefferson feels that it is crucial for young people to vote in the upcoming election.
“It’s incredibly important for you to get out and vote. The saying ‘every vote counts’ really is true when it comes to elections,” Jefferson said. “Every vote is important and could have the possibility of swaying the entire election.”
Today, young adults make up the largest demographic in America. As the future of this country, it only makes sense that young adults would take voting seriously. After all, the government affects every aspect of our lives. From schools to healthcare to homeland security, voting proves itself to be perhaps the most important right given to us.
Although young adults make up a huge chunk of the population, the polls aren’t showing this. According to Fairvote.org, in the 2014 midterm election, only 19.9 percent of eligible 18- to 29-year-old Americans voted.
You may feel that participating in this election doesn’t directly benefit you right now; however, it will in the upcoming years. This election will influence dozens of laws surrounding issues like abortion, LGBT adoption rights, Planned Parenthood funding, the death penalty and gun rights.
The first step to getting involved in the midterm elections is making sure you’re eligible to vote in the first place. To register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older and must not have a warrant out for your arrest.
The next step is registering to vote, if you haven’t already. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’ve registered, you can visit https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1 to check.
When it comes to actually casting your vote, Maryland is one of the states which gives the option to vote online. You can also vote by mail, or in person at the poll stations.
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that young people get out and vote. Our generation is the future and whether we like it or not, the future is here.
Sharing a post on Facebook or tweeting about the changes you wish to see in our society doesn’t do anything if you neglect to participate in our democracy.
Our lives are beginning to drastically change and instead of idly sitting by and watching these changes unfold, we have a chance to choose the outcome.
Image from FreeThePeople.org