If you have recently watched a television, opened up a website, listened to a class discussion, logged onto Facebook or picked up a newspaper, chances are you have been inundated with information about the presidential election. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have dominated the news and are taking over our airwaves.
Some have said our country has never been more divided. Voters are deeply frustrated and split on a number of different issues. Many of you are for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, many are supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump, and some are voting for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson or Green Party nominee Jill Stein.
I think that many people can agree that this election is a lot different than what we are used to. It is the first time there is a woman running; she and Trump, the man that we used to only associate with the slogan “You’re fired!” are the most popular candidates for president.
While we all campaign and make the case for our favorite candidate or the issues we care most about, we will never agree with which candidate to support or which issue is most important. With that being said, we all should agree that elections matter and we all must take our right to vote seriously.
While we tend to focus on the presidential election, more decisions that affect our lives are decided at the local levels. It is important to stand up for the issues and policies we believe or want to see changed, such as access to healthcare, terrorism, heroin epidemic, minimum wage or changes to the way we educate our children.
Who better to vote on issues regarding the student loan crisis, the issue of free college and how we pay for it, than the college students themselves?
When the next presidential election comes around, we will have graduated, some of us will have gotten married and will be starting families, so the issues we’re voting on today will be even more important to us in the years to come.
College students are faced with a million different tasks each day, whether it is making sure you go to the four scheduled classes in one day, study for an upcoming test or setting aside two hours of practice for a sports team. The thought of voting on Nov. 8 usually crosses our minds every now and then, but do we really take action?
I know that I hear many people say that they don’t think their vote matters. Frankly, that is just an extremely lousy excuse. Every vote counts, as statewide races have been won by less than 25 votes.
Unless you were born and raised in the West Chester area, chances are the location where you’re registered to vote is miles away, and you can’t easily take off classes on Election Day to drive home to vote. That is when a thing called an absentee ballot comes into play. Typically, the voter who is unable to be present at their registered polls mails an absentee ballot in advance of an election.
Voting is our right, a right many have fought and died to secure. Women didn’t always have the right. Women didn’t gain suffrage until 1920. People in other countries still cannot vote and if they can, they are often threatened.
Voting isn’t only about supporting a certain candidate, but supporting the idea of voting as a whole. No, voting is not a requirement that every American must abide by, but it is a power you have.
Voting is knowing that you are using your capability and understanding to work toward the success of our country, no matter which candidate you think is the best leader for the job. So, next time you neglect to make eye contact with someone standing outside of Main Hall asking if you’re registered to vote on campus, stop and let them inform you on how to be an active voting citizen on Nov. 8!
Taylor Tosheff is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at TT801606@wcupa.edu.