Tagwa Shammet, Opinions Editor
The time has come. You’re sitting in Monroe Park or on the Cabell lawn with a group of your friends. Then, someone approaches you and asks that familiar fall question. “Are you registered to vote?”
What’s your answer? I genuinely can say I have lied to these volunteers. But let’s be honest, not being registered to vote is no longer a trend. Apathy is no longer “in.” Not being registered to vote isn’t acceptable anymore, and it shouldn’t be.
Voting in the United States is a right we take for granted. I turned 18 last year. The biggest milestone for that age is becoming an adult. For me, it was gaining the right to vote. For centuries, women and people of color have fought for the right to vote.
The 15th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In 1869, the United States government granted black male citizens — and later on meaning citizens of any color — the right to vote.
The 19th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In 1919, half a century later, the United States government granted women the right to vote.
Now, the right to vote is granted to all American citizens, regardless of gender or color. American history shows that thousands of our ancestors fought for this right. The right to decide for themselves. So, why are you not utilizing this privilege they battled for? People all over the world, today, don’t have this amazing privilege we have. People all over the world aren’t entitled to choosing what happens to them and who rules over them. People all over the world don’t have the advantage that you have.
Registering to vote in Virginia is simple. Since this is a college campus, most of us have either registered for the first time our freshman year, or we’re absentee voters from back home. If you registered in Richmond under a VCU residential dorm, you might be holding a very dangerous misconception. Just because you registered last year, does not mean you’re completely registered this year. I was registered in Brandt last year. Now, during registration season, I made sure to change my address from the dorm to my new address. This ensures my polling place is correct. Make sure all your information is up to date to secure your eligibility to vote.
If you’re unsure if you’re registered, here are a few simple steps provided by the Virginia Department of Elections to check.
For more information regarding your voter eligibility or any questions at all, be sure to visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.
In this day and age, your vote matters more than ever. As individuals, we all have very different perspectives and outlooks on life, and your vote matters. I’m voting in honor of the thousands of black Americans who fought for my right. I’m voting in honor of the thousands of women who fought for my right. I’m voting in honor of the scores of people around the world who don’t have my right. Most importantly, I’m voting because my voice deserves to be heard. It is your duty to go out and vote. Being lazy, apathetic or ignorant is no longer an excuse.