By Marla Newsom
“Why do I have to vote? My vote doesn’t matter.” YES. Yes it does. Every single vote matters, especially if you are a millennial. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month or so, I am sure you have seen and heard Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton all over television, radio, and social media platforms. I’m sure you are aware that Trump and Clinton are both running for president but there are probably several other candidates you don’t know anything about. It is time to educate yourself on who will lead our country.
There are numerous ways you can register to vote. If you have a printer at your house or have time between classes to stop at the library you can go online to: http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html and print out an application form there. The form tells you exactly how to go about sending it in. All you have to do is fold the paper a couple of times and add tape. It really is that easy. If for some reason you can’t print out an application, you can always stop at the DMV and fill one out there.
If reading this article has helped you realize that you want to vote, but you have no idea who to vote for, I can help you with that as well. There are two parties in the Presidential election: Republican (the elephant) and Democrat (the donkey). You may find elephants cuter than donkeys or vice-versa, but these mascots were actually popularized by artist, Thomas Nast. He came up with the idea after Democratic candidate Andrew Jackson was referred to as a “jackass.” Nast decided to use that perception in a newspaper cartoon where he chose a donkey or “ass” to represent the Democratic Party, while an elephant would represent the Republican Party. The concept stuck, so please remember that when voting.
What’s the difference between the two? To begin, Republicans are more conservative, as Democrats are more liberal. This means regarding issues such as abortion, according to Gallup.com, 68% of Republicans are pro life, while 62% of Democrats are pro-choice. In the terms of social ideas, Republicans base their ideas on individual rights and justice, whereas Democrats base their social ideas on community and social responsibility. Just because there are two sides doesn’t automatically mean that every single candidate on either side believes the same thing as the other. This can make deciding that much harder. You hear people talking about Trump and Clinton often, but you shouldn’t assume because you’re a Democrat that the obvious choice is Clinton. After all, you may not stand by her choices, as they do not represent the Democratic Party as a whole.
Watching the debates and reading articles might not be something you like or understand, and that’s okay. There is a website that can help. A free website to help make your decision an easier, better informed one. The website is: http://secure.isidewith.com/political-quiz. The site features an online quiz that asks you questions regarding popular topics, such as “Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?” before having you rate it, based on how important this issue is to you from least to most. There are 10 different sections, varying from society to immigration. Most of the sections have about three questions, but you have the option to answer more questions in that certain section if you wish to find the perfect candidate for you. If you don’t understand the question there is always a “learn more” button to help further explain the topic to you.
The quiz takes about five minutes without using this “learn more” feature. Once you have answered all the questions it will take about 30 seconds to get your results. These results come out as percentages, meaning you could agree 99% with one candidate, but still agree 2% with another. This doesn’t mean you have to vote for your number one result; it’s more of a suggestion to follow up.
This quiz gives you a more general idea on who and what to research, given the results. Owen James, a student, took the quiz and found it, “So cool. I liked the option to read more.”
We can continue to change the world, but only if we make the effort. The next time you will have a say is four years after our next President is elected. If you don’t vote, you have no choice.