The upcoming weeks are going to be filled with political information as the country gears up for Election Day. Not only is 2020 a presidential election, but it is also an election for many state and local positions. 

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report revealing 2016 voting trends entitled “Voting in America: A Look at the 2016 Election.” According to the report, 61.4 percent of people old enough to vote participated in the 2016 election. 

This percentage is far too low, and we should all be exercising the right to vote come this November. 

The U.S. is going through a pandemic, the economy is stumbling, wildfires are occurring throughout the Western region, there is a Supreme Court opening position and there are major protests in various cities.

Every vote is important, especially when there are so many pressing issues facing the country.

We must take the time to vote if we want to see these issues taken care of in our preferred way. We need to be active and engaged citizens within our communities in order to see change.

There are two common reasons I have heard from my peers as to why they do not vote.

First, they say their vote does not matter because Texas is going to vote for the Republican Party whether they vote or not. The second is they feel they do not have enough knowledge to make an informed decision. 

Neither of these two reasons should be why someone does not exercise their right to vote this November. 

Even if Texas is projected to vote for the Republican Party and is not considered a swing state, it is important to voice your opinion and contribute to the final results.  

Additionally, the election goes much further than who the state is casting electoral votes for. There are also many closely contested local elections in need of voters turning out to support the candidates. 

Local elections are just as important, if not more so, than presidential elections because change being made at the local level can impact communities at a faster rate than the national level can. 

Low local turnout prevents accurate representation in the community because the position is determined by a select few. 

Voting is a way we can participate in our country’s government, and it is a right many people throughout history have fought for us to have. We should take advantage of this hard work and vote out of respect for those who previously did not have the right to participate in politics. 

By not voting, we take for granted the privilege we have to voice who we want to represent us in the government. 

Regarding the feeling of not having enough information to vote, we live in a time where information is easily accessible at our fingertips, so there is no reason to not be able to educate yourself. 

We have social media, podcasts, news apps and websites all allowing information to be shared rapidly and viewed anywhere.

If someone does not feel informed, it is because they have not taken the time to observe what is happening in the world around them. 

People who do not vote, despite being eligible, fail to recognize how everyone is impacted by political decisions. 

Voting is often one of the easiest ways to show you care about the world around you and want to see positive change occur.  

In my opinion, voting is an important aspect of our democracy, and everyone should take part in this civic duty. Democracy works best when citizens actively participate in it by voting in elections. 

Your vote is always important. There are too many issues on the table to stay silent this election. No matter who you choose to vote for, we should all get out and vote. 

The last day to register to vote in Texas is Oct. 5. Be sure to have a plan for how you will be voting this year.

To register to vote or check your registration status in Texas go to www.votetexas.gov.  

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