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Why Your Vote Is So Vital

We’re gearing up for the most prominent elections—here’s why your vote matters.

Voter drop box stands in left corner with a man in a blue shirt and green pants and yellow clock in the middle. A woman in bright green pants is voting behind a divider with an American flag.
Credit: YouTube / CaliforniaSOS

With the 2024 US presidential primaries still underway, it’s a stressful political climate facing those who can vote.

Biden sits on the left in a black suit. Trump is on the right in a navy blue suit with an American flag behind him.
Credit: YouTube / Good Morning America

It is quite obvious who will be the two candidates for the election in November, with current president Joe Biden (D) and former president Donald Trump (R) on the ballot.  

Anyone who knows anything about politics here will know these two names create a sense of dread. One’s been indicted on four criminal cases, while the other people have little confidence in, according to Pew Research Center.

But even with two options that can seem lackluster, it’s still more important than ever to use your right to vote in order to make the best choice for who will be in office for the next four years. 

Young voters have long had low turnout at the polls, but this could be the year we change that. This year, we could overwhelm the stats with youth voices—and here’s why we should.  

The Important Issues

When looking to vote, your choice needs to stem from the issues you deem most important and how each candidate handles them. 

There is a constant influx of rising topics that take our attention, including abortion rights, immigration, gun control and how the country is addressing conflicts like the Israeli-Gaza war. 

When researching politicians, you must look at what their stances are on such items—because this can often be the make or break factor. 

Unsurprisingly, young voters tend to lean left in political views, and there is a strong focus on social issues, according to NPR

This is a reflection of the rise of activism, especially driven through social media. But there are other topics to look at as well, such as student loan forgiveness and other economics, especially since, if you’re like me, you could never dream of owning a house in this country. 

While there are a plethora of issues that can be overwhelming to look through, Ballotpedia is, in my opinion, the best resource out there to see where candidates stand. 

Strikingly, there is a pushback against Biden for his lack of response to Israeli-Gaza, among other issues such as a TikTok ban. According to an NBC News poll, they found that for voters between the ages of 18 to 34, 46% supported Trump while 42% supported Biden. Whether this statistic makes you excited or apprehensive, there is nothing you can do about it if you don’t go out and vote. 

How To Vote

I think often there is confusion from young voters when facing with the daunting tasks of researching, registering and then going to the ballots to vote. There’s no teaching on how to properly prepare or vote, so we get frightened off. But the process is not as difficult as one would think.

You first should make sure you’re registered. If you’re new, visit and click your state or territory to see how you can register (most likely online). If you’re unsure if you’re registered, go to Can I Vote to check your registration status. 

Those in another state for college can either register to vote in your home state or with your educational institution’s address. If voting through your home state, you must request an absentee ballot as soon as possible through your state. 

Then you’re all good to go! 

Keep an eye out on where your nearest polling stations and dates that can work for you. When going to vote, bring your ID and notes on the candidates you’re looking to vote for. 

Don’t stress and get excited because, after, you’ll be able to walk away with one of those snazzy “I voted” stickers.

Why You Need To Vote

Screen with "Youth Vote" is on the left with an American flag and the word "Vote" underneath it above the words. Man in a blue suit with a purple tie sits to the right of the screen.
Credit: YouTube / PBS NewsHour

This election, as numerous others, is so vital to get young voters to the polls. With so many significant issues up for debate, it’s more pertinent than ever to make sure you elect a lawmaker you agree with or approve of. 

While it can be discouraging watching each year pass and the same old issues being in the spotlight but never resolved, one can’t use this as an excuse to not vote. It’s the right we should embrace as citizens, to make a choice and take a stand for the candidates we most strongly agree with. 

There is fatigue at the state of the world, but you can only make a difference when you vote consciously. It’s scary that we could continue to recycle the world in its current state

While it may feel like nothing is ever going to change, it certainly never will if you don’t do what you can to help. If polls are overwhelmingly based on the older generations who feel out of touch, then that’s exactly what our politicians are going to reflect.  

According to Columbia College Chicago first-year student Lilly Sundsbak, youth voters are less likely to vote due to finding the right candidate, time and other challenges. 

“What people should know is that they are the ones who are most affected by decisions made now, and can be super influential within key political races both locally and nationally,” she said. “We saw how the younger population’s increased turnout in the past years have drastically changed the outcomes of these races.” 

It is we who are the generation inheriting this country, so we have to do our best to ensure we can have someone who best represents our needs and wants. We are diverse people with new perspectives that the older generation in our politics don’t have—we need to vote to embody that. We’re future leaders. 

And if you don’t take an endorsement from me, take Taylor Swift’s words for it. “I’ve been so lucky to see so many of you guys at my US shows recently. I’ve heard you raise your voices, and I know how powerful they are,” she wrote on her Instagram story back in September of 2023. “Make sure you’re ready to use them in our elections this year!”

Stay informed. Use your voice. Go vote. 

Written By

Kaitlyn Mahan (she/her) is currently a freshman at Columbia College Chicago double majoring in creative writing and journalism. She predominantly focuses on prominent news coverage both nation and world wide and hopes to pursue a career in news publication writing.

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