The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
You should vote.
That’s essentially what we’re addressing here today.
We all know our generation loves to talk a big game about political advocacy on social media, but if we’re going to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk.
And no, you saying your vote doesn’t really count, or you don’t want to pick between two sucky candidates, or you don’t know how to register or that it won’t matter either way because mail-in ballots are corrupting the election don’t count as valid reasons to not cast your vote.
Why? Because we said so.
Well, that and the fact that your vote actually matters way more than you think – like, way more.
Ohio is a swing state. It’s a state that could go red or blue very easily, depending on things like voter turnout.
It’s been said that “as Ohio goes, so does the nation.”
And guess what, guys — older generations vote! Gen X and younger have way more eligible voters than people 54 and older, but in 2014, we cast 21 million fewer votes.
Way uncool of us there.
So let’s talk about how you can register:
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The deadline is Oct. 5, so mark your calendars, but remember, the sooner the better for mail-in ballots.
If you’re an out-of-state student, you can register for an absentee ballot so your vote will be counted in your home state. But we strongly encourage you to register your vote to count in Ohio, because your vote might matter more here than the state you’re from if it’s heavily dominated by one political party or the other.
Let’s chat about mail-in and absentee voting.
Both absentee voting and mail-in voting are used in reference to delivering ballots to voters through mail. Absentee ballots were created for those who cannot be in their local jurisdiction during the time of an election. There are currently 34 states that allow voters to cast their ballots through absentee voting even if you can be there on Election Day. The other states require a valid reason for utilizing mail ballots, but with the pandemic, many consider the virus a more-than-worthy reason to use the mail-in option.
Mail-in ballots are slightly different from absentee because they are mailed to every eligible voter whether or not they requested it. This is only a practice in some states, and they have a strict process that allows them to track and verify each ballot.
If you chose to utilize these options instead of in-person voting, it’s important that you make sure your ballot gets where it needs to go by noon three days prior to Election Day. And with an expected increase in mail-in ballots, you should be sending in at least two in advance, or as soon as you possibly can.
What can you do now?
Register, retweet and research.
The more people from our generation register, the more power we have. These officials work for us, too – so let’s be a part of the hiring process!
Greek life should be advocating for registration within their chapter organizations and posting helpful voting tips on social media. The university administration should be sending an email reminding us to get involved, and we should all be nagging our friends to get it signed, sealed and delivered.
ASG is one step ahead, and will be hosting voter registration drives every Thursday at 6 p.m. for the rest of September.
Once you’re registered and ready, you need to get informed.
Social media is a great place to learn about political issues and a basic understanding of policies, but again, if we can’t translate those Twitter rants into votes, none of it matters.
Even if you feel like your vote doesn’t mean anything, it earns you the right to complain about the outcome. You can’t really get upset if you did nothing to stop what happened, right?
And as far as who you’re voting for — it’s easy to think you’ve got all the necessary information after reading a Twitter thread or Instagram post, but you really should research the candidates themselves from real sources.
You can go to Joe Biden’s official website or Donald Trump’s. You should probably look at both, read up a little, and if you’re feeling unsure or need some guidance, remember that as students we get free New York Times and Wall Street Journal subscriptions.
So there you have it, kids – you should vote.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy stamps!