Voting in 2020: What is my vote worth?

By Bridget Gum

What is my vote worth? Doesn’t the Electoral College decide everything anyway? Why does it matter? These are questions that many citizens ask themselves every four years when the presidential election comes around.

When it comes to the Electoral College deciding who the next president will be, that is in fact accurate. But what is the Electoral College? What is the popular vote? The popular vote is the actual number of citizens who voted for one of the candidates. According to the New York Times, “The Electoral College is a group of people that elects the President and the Vice President of the United States.” Sounds pretty unfair, right? 

Although, we actually have more power than it sounds like.  Each person gets to vote for “electors” who are appointed by the political parties in each state. This means that you do not vote for the president directly, but you can vote for an elector who is of the same political party as the candidate you want. However, the electors do not have to vote for the candidate that is of the same political party as the one they were appointed.

So why is voting so important? According to freshmen political science major Nick Kelly-Wilson, “I feel like the people who can vote really need to because it’s our country and we need to be an active member of society.” 

I happen to agree with Kelly-Wilson because so many people complain about the policies in this country and fight for certain social issues, but if you are not willing to vote, how passionate can you be?

Kelly-Wilson also mentions the fact that “It’s actually the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage which is super cool and I feel like it would be like, honestly, as a woman super disrespectful to my ancestors, if I did not vote because all these women fought for this right.”

I can speak to the same experience. Yes, this year, voting was definitely different and it was not how I dreamed my first time voting would be, but it was incredibly empowering to have my first time voting be on the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. 

Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way. In the 2016 presidential election, only 60.2% of eligible voters actually voted, according to NPR, and in our age group, 18-29, only 46.1% of eligible voters voted, according to the U.S. Census. Some people do not vote because they do not feel educated enough. Some feel that with all of the political tension and arguments, it can be really challenging to pick a side without offending someone or starting a fight. 

For the people who do not feel educated enough, it is important to find a non-biased website to get your information from so that you can become properly informed about the issues. I find that is one of the best websites to get information from. 

What I love about is that they offer a voters’ quiz and based on your answers, it suggests which presidential candidate you should vote for, like a compatibility test for presidential candidates. 

It is more than that though, they rank your compatibility on every candidate. I find that it really helps these political barriers fall away and it could open your eyes to see these candidates and parties have some merit, even if you do not agree with everything they may think. 

The website also provides expandable information like more information, discussion forums, viewpoints from the political parties, and statistics, so if you are not informed on a particular issue, you can educate yourself. You can also rank how important the issues are to you and answer more questions on the topics you are very interested in. 

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