You have probably seen the signs all over town, peeking around corners and placed proudly by the road in front of people’s houses. That’s right, it’s election season.
When you see the signs, can you match a face to the name or do you know what position that person holds on important issues? Just because the United States is not electing a president this year does not mean there are not important things to vote on.
It is quite overwhelming all of the candidates and positions. The good news is that every candidate has his or her own website that extensively describes their positions on issues such as the economy, taxes, abortion, healthcare, foreign policy and much more. Before voting, it is always beneficial to be informed. Don’t know who’s running? Check out a sample ballot online. It will also speed up the voting process.
But, why vote anyway? Voting is a peaceful way of getting your opinion heard. From the price of a stamp to going to war, decisions that directly influence our world are made by the government officials that we elect. Evan Matheson, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, says he votes because “I believe in the power of a representative government.” When you go off to college, Georgia allows you to vote by absentee ballot without providing a reason, so you are still able to vote in your hometown.
Rachel Byrd, a senior at Augusta Prep, turned 18 in August but has not registered to vote because she “wasn’t aware there was a registration deadline.”
“I wish I would have been more aware about it because now I can’t vote,” she said.
How do I register to vote? It is too late to vote in this election, but for next year you can register to vote by filling out a registration application, found at any state agency or downloaded online. You can register to vote at 17 and 1/2 years old but you have to be 18 to vote. Remember to bring a valid photo ID when you go.
Think about it this way: Your vote counts the same amount as Bill Gates’ or Barack Obama’s, or whoever else that may seem important to you. Get out and vote when and if you can!
Teen Board Member Aubrey Burnside is a senior at Augusta Preparatory Day School