Election season is upon us. As of Oct. 18, 2023, 17 politicians (three democrats, 12 republicans and two independent) are campaigning to serve as president for the upcoming four years. Although the presidential election is not until next November, it is important for all to know how and why to vote.
But with lots of tensions surrounding politics, it may seem exhausting to vote, but it is nevertheless an important part of being an American citizen. Senior Nathan Klahsen is involved with the Campus Democrats group at Northwestern. “I think it is important to vote because it allows us to participate in our government and the selection of those who obtain political power,” said Klahsen. “We are able to have a say in who we put in power and on the type of legislation that is put in place.”
It is important to know who you are voting for and the policies that may come with the elected politician. “I would advise that students know all about the candidates that they can vote for,” said Klahsen. “It is important to know the ideas and beliefs so that we can all make the educated decisions on who we are voting for and what they stand for in politics.”
During the 2020 presidential election, junior Jessica McCubbin did just that. McCubbin did not wish to vote blindly, so she researched the candidates and looked at their mission statements. “I wanted to see if the politicians aligned with what I wanted for America’s leadership,” she said.
Klahsen voted in both the 2020 presidential election and in the 2022 midterm elections. In 2020, due to Covid, Klahsen had to complete his registration by mail and later received his mail in ballot. “In 2022, I participated in the midterm elections, where once again I completed my registration, then I went to the polling place here in Orange City where I received a ballot and was able to vote in a secure booth,” Klahsen said.
In the United States, you are eligible to vote in an election if you are a US citizen and at least 18 years old. To register to vote, go to vote.gov, select your state or territory, and find out how to vote in your home state. In most places, you are able to register online, by mail or in person.
You can register to vote in-person at the DMV, Air Force Reserve Command or state and county public assistance offices. “Here in Iowa, students need to complete a registration form,” Klahsen said. “These forms are sent to us almost two weeks before the deadline, then sent into the country. Then, the registration is complete.” As a college student, you can register within your hometown or your college town, but not both, according to sos.iowa.gov.
Some U.S. adults may refuse to vote, believing that their vote does not count, or that voting is a scam from the government. According to an article from “Global Citizen,” written in 2020, less than three-fourths of the population participates in voting. Socioeconomic statuses, the weekday voting time, not relating to any of the politician’s views and the view that their vote does not matter may hinder voting.
The demographics of voting are interesting. According to Pew Research Center, most voters are ages 30-49, white, Protestant, have some college education and live in suburbia.
Even if you do not fit these demographics, go out and vote!