When most people talk about voting, they are only speaking of the presidential election. Some might say, “Why vote? My one vote can’t change anything.” They would be wrong. Sure, the presidential election is a nationwide event with huge turnout, and maybe in that case, your vote doesn’t carry as much weight, but it’s a completely different story when it comes to local elections.
Why bother with local elections? Because local politicians and bureaucrats are able to make decision or “regulations” that affect your daily life. Especially in Florida, where we have something called “home rule.” If you think about it, every aspect of your life from the time you are born is regulated. Local and state elections have much worse turnout than the presidential election. That means your vote could be one of twenty, and in that case, your vote matters much, much more. Whom you vote for locally has a trickle effect that influences what happens on Capitol Hill. You may feel like the things that happen in society do not affect you now, but I argue that they do. Policies made by elected officials and the bureaucrats they appoint have had a profound impact on this country, and it knows no age limit: the War on Terror, the Great Recession, LGBTQ rights, carbon emission policies, solar energy versus fossil fuel…those are just a few examples of decisions made that affect young people.
Young people make up 21% of the voting eligible population in the US – that rivals the percentage of eligible Baby Boomer voters and similar to Gen-Xers (your parents’ generation). With your generation and Millenials making up such a huge part of the voting population now, we have the capabilities of being the deciding factor in elections. Politicians aren’t dumb; they know that your vote can have a huge influence in shaping politics in the US. They understand that your vote will decide future elections.
“Okay great, but how do I even regisTER To Vote?”
One of the greatest barriers for young people is the lack of knowledge on how to become a registered voter. To be qualified to vote, you need to:
- Be a US citizen
- A legal resident of Florida
- Be a legal resident in the county you are trying to register in
- 16 to pre-register, and 18 to register
- Not be a convicted felon
Our mid-term election is coming up on November 6, so unfortunately it is too late to register this time around, but you general have 1 month before an election to become registered. There’s also two ways you can register: online, or by mail. Give them around 10 business days or more to process your registration. You can check your voter registration information here.