These past couple months have been a difficult time for America, especially because of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. Our current President, Donald Trump, has not taken this outbreak seriously until recently, leaving many families feeling unsafe and unhappy. Clearly, Trump has yet again failed our country in trying to prevent a national crisis, but it’s not the end of the world.
The presidential election is coming up quickly, with May 19th being the date for Oregon’s primary votes. Students may not think their vote makes a difference, but they are one of the largest demographics of voters and have the power to change the future.
Students can register to vote as young as 16, and it’s a simple process that can be done online. However, Oregon does not offer same day voter registration and so students have to register at least 21 days before the next election to be able to vote in it. Oregon’s primaries are also closed, meaning students have to register for your chosen party to be able to vote for it.
Students have the power to vote for someone they believe can actually make a difference in these trying times. They can drastically change the vote one way or another, depending on what they value. Some students may be looking for free healthcare, reduction of college loans, or have concerns about the impact they have on the environment.
These are all topics covered by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who is fighting for us, the students who can’t afford to keep taking out college loans to pursue our education; the students who want to make a change in our environment but don’t know how to; the students who have disabilities, who have have medical conditions that send them to the hospital frequently, the students who have to pay thousands for insulin or epipens. Sanders has been voting for equality, including gay marriage, for years and he’s so close to winning the Democratic primary. With student votes, he’ll be able to beat Joe Biden, who isn’t fighting for us at all.
Regardless of who students vote for, it’s important that they research on their own time and find a candidate that fits them. It’s also important to actually make sure to register for voting in time to do so. Though politics are messy, if students don’t get involved they won’t be able to make a difference and change all the problems they constantly complain about.
Maxwell Lien, President of the College of Democrats at Pacific University, had a lot to say about student voting:
“Your vote matters because your voice matters. You are the most educated and most diverse generation this country has ever known. You believe in climate change, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and women’s reproductive rights. You stand for an America that is as inclusive and hopeful as our Declaration claims it to be. And you’re proving right now—here at this university—that you’re willing to work for that America. You’re doing the work of educating and elevating yourself here at Pacific, but now is the time to use your voice and your vote to lift up those around you. You can make a difference in your community and across this country, but that requires you to actively participate in this democracy. It necessitates that you physically engage in the building of this nation. Stay informed, speak out against injustice, and use your vote and your collective action to reshape the world we live in. Dr. King said, ‘in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ Do not silence your voice through cynicism or apathy. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that one person can’t make a difference. You are the future leaders of this nation—so lead, and I promise the rest will follow.”
Please make sure to go register to vote today and to vote for the change you want to see in America. Everyone’s voice and votes matter so much.