Whether you actually call yourself a millennial or not (technically this only refers to people born during 1981-1996—I checked), if you’re between the ages of 18 and oh, say, 40, let’s just assume I’m talking to you.
Here’s the deal: we need to all vote this November. All of us. Yes, you, back there who’s never registered to vote because it seems complicated. And you, over there who thinks the Midterms don’t matter, and your vote doesn’t count anyway. And even you, who isn’t sure you have time to vote between your classes and your two part-time jobs.
First of all, let me address your objections:
- Registering to vote is easy, quick, and you can do it online! Go to:https://ova.elections.il.gov/
- The Midterms are super important! This year we’re voting for Governor, Congress, State Reps, and a lot of important local offices. You can influence your own community a ton by voting in the midterms.
- Voting doesn’t have to be a chore! You can vote early, or request a mail in ballot. Go to www.Dupageco.org/election/Voting to check out your options
Now, I know it’s cheesy, but together, we can really make a difference. Millennials make up half of the eligible voting population, but in 2016, only 19% of voters aged 18-29 actually DID vote, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Engagement. We have a growing number of us that can make a difference on the issues that matter to us—like student loan debt forgiveness or healthcare. No one else is going to look out for our best interests besides us. We have to step up and speak out on our own behalf.
Our voice can be our vote. Maybe these issues don’t feel important to you right now. But what about in 2 years, or 4 years? It’s important to do your homework and learn how you will be impacted by these things not just today but in the future. It’s up to us to help shape what the future is going to look like—because we’re going to be the ones living in it, and dealing with the challenges and outcomes.
Let’s get educated, and get to the polls. It’s so easy now to get the facts you need. Maybe growing up your family voted a certain way, but now you want to explore other candidates or policies. There’s so much information at our fingertips—check your local newspapers for coverage on local candidates and policies. For nonpartisan coverage on everything you need to know before the election, the League of Women Voters (not just for women!) in Illinois has a great website with candidate views, sample ballots, and more for you to explore. Check it out at: IllinoisVoterGuide.org
Okay, team, get registered, study up, we’ve got two months to get ready and make our voice heard. Bring a friend with you to the polls and don’t forget to share your sticker selfie afterwards, like a good millennial should. Feel free to tag #lwv and #govote and we can congratulate each other on a job well done!
I’ll see you at the polls.