Your voice and vote matter

By Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, voting for Sen. Ted Cruz or Rep. Beto O’Rourke, midterm elections are coming up really soon. In the state of Texas, the first day of early voting by personal appearance was Monday and goes through Nov. 2. Election day is Nov. 6.

We might not put much thought into voting, but we really should. Your vote makes all the difference in the world. Sure, you might not be “interested in politics,” or you might feel like your vote doesn’t matter at all. But it does.

In the last midterm election, according to U.S. Census data, the overall turnout was 41.9 percent. That means 58 percent of people did not vote, likely because they felt like their voice or vote does not matter.

Still think your vote does not matter? Catch this: In 2009, Minnesota Senator Al Franken won his election by just 312 votes. In the 2016 Democratic primary and caucuses, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders received way over 2,052,081 votes, according to the Washington Post. Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton’s youth vote by over 1.2 million votes and caused a serious headache to the Clinton camp.

That is to say, everyone’s voice matters. That one vote turns into a million votes and could potentially be the vote that decides Republican or Democratic presidential nominees, governors, senators, congressmen and more. These are the people you elect to represent your district and more importantly your values and morals.

According to Brookings, nearly 50 percent of the entire voter population is made up of millennials even though they are further divided when considering candidates and their policy preferences. That statistic proves that no one is truly set on one candidate and party. But, instead are divided. Voting is crucial, especially if you did not vote for a candidate because he/she did not have the same political stance. Therefore, affecting you and your future family down the road.

College students make up a bunch of different excuses and reasons for not being able to go vote. In reality, if you can skip class to sleep in or to binge watch Netflix, why can you not skip class and go do your civic duty by voting? You may feel that choosing a president, congressman, senator or some politician is boring and something that may not currently affect your life right now, but once you graduate, you will have to worry about taxes, choosing your own healthcare, housing, etc.

For those that are not really politically savvy, thank goodness for modern technology and social media that make it easier for politicians and everyday citizens connect. Politicians are slowly figuring out that in order to win the youth vote, they need to be social media savvy and post regularly — even if it is just a 10 second Instagram or Snapchat story talking about their political stances. Stop binge watching Netflix. Go out and vote. You can truly make a difference in the world and change lives.