Editorial: Vote like your life depends on it

In a time where political tensions are nearly as high as the rates of voter suppression, it is imperative that young people continue to vote. 

Despite the best attempts to dissuade young voters that can be seen throughout the United States, the Millenial vote has continued to rise. 

According to data from the Pew Research Center, the Millenial vote doubled between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections. 

This statistic may come as somewhat of a shock, given the notoriously low voter turnout of young people. But the youth vote is finally on the rise. 

Combined with the votes of Gen X, young people could outvote older generations. 

In the 2018 midterm elections, the Millenial vote, paired with the votes of Gen Z and Gen X totaled 62.2 million votes, compared to the 60.1 million votes cast by Boomers, according to data from the Pew Research Center. 

While young people have the sheer numbers to make waves in each election, change rarely happens due to the widespread lack of engagement among America’s youth. 

It is common to hear fellow students lament the state of American democracy. But are those same students participating in the democracy they are preemptively mourning?

Despite what you may have heard, voting works. The U.S. political system is not entirely comprised of theatrical performances ready for televised news segments. 

The propositions, measures, and local legislators that appear on your ballot can and will affect your life, perhaps more so than the presidential candidates. 

The nuts and bolts of propositions and measures may sound almost as boring as researching local candidates, but those local elections will impact your life in tangible ways. 

Whether it be the slashing of your university’s budget or the reelection of your local congressperson, you will be able to see the effects of those ballots.

While local elections make the most direct impact on our daily lives, national elections can make an enormous impact as well. 

Issues like marriage equality and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants can make a sizeable impact on your daily life or the lives of your friends and family.

Perhaps you have friends who are DACA enrollees or family members who are undocumented. Though they are undoubtedly part of the fabric of America, they do not have the opportunity to seek representation or make their voices heard through voting. 

Vote for them. Vote with the interests of others in mind. 

Voting is not simply an option, it is a social responsibility. Perhaps a hot-button issue on the ballot may not affect you personally or even someone you know. But does it not ultimately affect another human being? Could it affect you in the future?

Apathy will never bring about change. If you see an issue and want to change it, there is only one way how.

Vote. Vote for your friends, family, and neighbors. Vote even though it can be boring. Vote like your life depends on it. In many ways, it does.