The political climate, much like the global climate, is getting hot and heavy. The 2020 presidential election has come into full swing after the fiasco known as the Iowa caucus. Just last week, I myself drove two hours up to my hometown in New Hampshire to vote in the primaries. I had not forgotten to request my absentee ballot in time, but I wasn’t going to let my own ignorance disrupt one of my few tangible democratic rights. Interestingly enough, when I told people of my plans to sacrifice four hours of precious homework time and about 25 dollars worth of gas to vote in person, I was met with a variety of responses.
“Life’s too short to care about politics,” something said by one of my near and dear friends who I hope is reading this. I thought about it and countered with life’s too short not to care about politics. I have come into contact with many people who have simply given up on politics.
According to the Washington Post, 10% of the United States population falls into the “bystander” category of voters, meaning they are not registered to vote and aren’t engaged with politics whatsoever. Ninety-six % of them have never voted in their life. Most concerningly, 32% of bystanders are Hispanic and 38% are young people, two huge demographics of Americans who aren’t getting representation in the polls.
Voter turnout can be caused by a large number of reasons other than simply choosing not to. Strict work hours, transportation issues, child care priorities and a number of other reasons can influence people’s ability to cast their vote. Unfortunately, a lot of these issues fall upon minorities and low income families who don’t have flexibility in their schedules.
If you can vote, you should, both for yourself and those who can’t. Visit vote.org for helpful resources and instructions to mobilize your vote.