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As the American presidential election on November 3rd is drawing closer, millions of citizens have already cast their votes. The importance of voting cannot be overstated, considering how many issues are at stake and how many social justice, economic, health and environmental problems the next administration will have to deal with.
Step One – register to vote. Although kids cannot vote (you have to be 18 years old), there are other things you can do. First, you can remind your parents to register to vote. There are different ways to vote: by mail or in person. I reminded my parents to register online to receive their ballot by mail. Every state has its own registration deadline. You can register online by going to iwillvote.com and selecting which state you are a resident of. Next, select “Register to Vote” and fill out all the requested criteria. Then, go back and click how you want to vote: by mail or in person. Once you have clicked it, fill out all the requirements to complete the registration. If you have selected vote by mail, your ballot should be on the way to your home via the U.S. Postal Service.
Step Two – cast your ballot. When your ballot arrives in the mail (it took about a week for my parents’ ballot to come), check the box for your preferred candidates for U.S. president, city council, mayor, etc. as well as your choice on all the propositions. After filling out your ballot, there are some mistakes you can make. One of them is forgetting to sign your envelope after you are done. Your signature should be in your own handwriting, so make sure to take your time while signing. Then seal your envelope with the sticker provided and put it in your mailbox for it to be picked up or drop it in a public mailbox.
If you are voting in person, there is a website you can go to to find the nearest dropoff station near you. They can sometimes be at public places such as schools, so make sure you go on the website to check.
Just like that, you have officially voted! It’s that easy.
I urge you to vote and make your voices heard. If you are not of voting age, stay informed and read the news. Ask your parents if you can see their ballot or accompany them to the polls. You will find a lot of interesting things on the ballot, including state propositions and all the different candidates such as Kanye Omari West! You can do your part by talking to people around you about your views to keep the discussion going on all the important issues. That’s how you can do your part in our democracy to make sure that everyone’s opinions are heard.
And one day, when you have the opportunity to vote, remember that every vote matters. Why? Because elections are often decided by the smallest margin and because if your vote is added to other peoples’ votes, it can make a difference. Another way to think about it is, if a lot of people did not believe their vote mattered and didn’t vote, that could determine the outcome of an election.