Voting is critical to rewriting the future

Illustration by Madeline De-Michele

Ishaan Nandwani, Contributing Writer

It seems that everywhere we turn, we’re confronted with the dangerous stakes of the future of our nation. With less than a month until the presidential election, our country is facing three major crises in public health, a struggling economy and systemic racism.

During this politically turbulent time, there’s been a single message repeatedly imparted upon us: Vote. The emphasis placed on voting isn’t unique to the 2020 election, but it has arguably never been more important.

The primary focus of the upcoming election is the presidency, but there’s more on the line than just our commander in chief. Thirty-three seats in the Senate, 434 positions in the House of Representatives and a new Supreme Court justice are all on the ballot, either directly or indirectly.

Yet in this election, the truth is, not all of us will vote. Perhaps some of us struggle to understand how a singular vote can truly make a difference. Others might be reluctant to tune in to politics due to their own personal challenges during these difficult times.

This election is not one that can be ignored. It will guide the direction that the United States is heading, both politically and morally. Between the pandemic and civil unrest, we are all anticipating the winner of this presidential election to be either the savior or destroyer of our desires and expectations.

After then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, many Americans found themselves puzzled, disappointed and skeptical of the electoral college system. Despite Clinton winning the popular vote, President Trump won the electoral college vote and secured the presidency. To prevent a similar result, it is vital for people to get out and vote this year.

To those who are reluctant to vote, hear me out. As college students and young people in this country, many of us will vote for the first time in our lives. Our votes are more than simple checks on a ballot. They reflect the changing and blossoming ideals of our generation; one that is deeply rooted in equality for all, a steadfast belief in science and the protection of our fundamental civil liberties.

As illustrated by the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, our divisions are extraordinary. When we vote, we use our voice and demand change, electing leaders who share our values. We make it known to those at the top that indeed, we will not be silenced or sidelined. We will be heard.

There’s a pervasive conception in the U.S. that although young people are often politically informed, we do not go out to the polls and vote. It’s up to us to turn this into a misconception and refute this notion through voting.

There’s less than a month before the election. We must pour our heart and souls into ensuring our vote is counted, and that our family and friends have voted as well.

For resources on voting in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Elections portal has all you need to know. Early voting has been open in our state since Sept. 18, and the last day to register to vote in the commonwealth is Oct. 13. 

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