Make America Vote Again

There are no excuses for not voting

Scan this QR code to register to vote.

Scan this QR code to register to vote.

Caroline Christensen, Content Manager

As the Iowa caucuses approached, I was having way too much fun. Enthusiastic to see democracy in action, I signed up to volunteer at my local precinct, researched important political issues, and bought the obligatory Raygun caucus t-shirt. (Mine came in navy.) Needless to say, I was having the time of my life. Which is why I was devastated to discover that my fellow classmates and friends were not having as much fun as I was. 

As I asked around, the general answer I received when asked if they were going to caucus was a shrug of the shoulders and an, “I dunno.” Sure, there were some like minded politically active teens I came across, but the majority of people were not too confident when it came to the process of caucusing, and voting. Once I dug deeper into the conversation though, it was obvious people wanted to have their voice heard and genuinely wanted to make a change. The only problem is, many teenagers do not know the processes needed to vote and caucus. Never fear, for I shall be your trusty voter guide. Simply follow the steps below for a seamless transition into the wonderful world of democracy. 

     1.) Register 

It is easy! It will take maybe five minutes, and it can all be done online. (Scan the QR reader above to register). Misplaced social security number? No problem! A drivers license is a common form of identification used to verify identity. Want to vote but cannot find the time to register? No sweat. Volunteers will happily register people to vote on election and caucusing days. 

      2.) Research

Decide three issues that are a top priority. Then do a quick google search to find a candidate that is also passionate and has a plan to address those priorities. Personally, I wanted to make sure who I was casting my vote for was a candidate that aligned with my core values. 

    3.) Find your precinct

Because everyone in Johnston physically cannot pile into one building and vote efficiently, neighborhoods are split into sections, or precincts. In order to find precincts, go to the Iowa Secretary of State website and type in address, zip code, and street number. 

     4.) Show up. (With identification).

This is by far the most crucial step. Once present, be able to show a form of identification. (A drivers license is adequate). Flash that form of identification like an FBI agent running through airport security, and get on into that voting booth. 

     5.) Vote

Even if uncertain, volunteers will guide people through every step of the process. 

How do I vote in college?

If moving to another part of the state or out of state for college, students can still vote.

1.) Register to vote at college, or home address. Choose one address to register. If registered at college, voting can take place in that location.

2.) If registered to vote in a home address, consider an absentee ballot. (Absentee ballots allow voters to mail in their votes instead of having to physically go to their precincts).

3.) Request an absentee ballot on Iowa’s Secretary of State website. (Request form must be be received eleven days before an election).

4.) Mail in absentee ballot.

But why vote in the first place?

Questions have been raised in past elections about whether the popular vote even matters with the electoral college. True, the electoral college has numerous flaws, but voting still matters. N.Y.U professor Richard H. Pildes said, “When you vote, you’re actually voting for representatives in the Electoral College from your state who will then vote for the president.” So when voting, the people influence which candidate members of the electoral college vote for. Sometimes the electoral college and popular vote do not agree–but this has only happened about five times in United States history. 

Not only does voting matter, but the process of voting is safe and accessible. This is a luxury Americans often take advantage of, because it was not always safe. People like Alice Paul were arrested for protesting the right to vote and force fed in prison. Or Jimmie Lee Jackson, a man who ended dying in a Civil Rights protest which eventually led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act which protected the voting rights of minorities. It was people like Alice Paul and Jimmie Jackson who gave us our rights. Americans now have the privilege of not having to worry about being arrested or killed to have the opportunity to vote.

People underestimate the impact their vote has on an election. City council member Scott Syroka knows the power people have when coming together for an election. “It is important to vote because voting is one of the few times where regardless of how much money you have, how much wealth you have, how much power you have, you have an equal vote as much as everyone else,” Syroka said. “It’s power of the people. People coming together, all in service of one thing.”

It is essential “we the people” need take advantage of this monumental opportunity to have our voices heard. Inconvenience is not an excuse. Laziness is not an excuse. Nothing could ever be an excuse for not voting. Whether someone is a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or part of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, voting is essential to preserve democracy. Instead of complaining about the government, or wanting things to change, make a change.