Thursday February 25, 2016 was the night before I voted for the first time. I used this day to go door to door in my dorm. Reminding all my Spelman sisters that Friday was the last day for early voting leading up to March 1st. The stakes in our country have never been higher and this election has never been more important.
This is my first time ever voting in an election and already I feel that this will be an experience I will never forget. I have been going over the issues looking at all the candidates. I have looked at their records and I am sure I am making the best decision. I am voting with my head not with my heart. Something I hope my peers will also do.
This is just an indescribable feeling. We will be directly affected by the outcome of this election.
I personally do not understand how anyone could stay at home and not vote. I think what's even more overwhelming, is the fear: The fear of what is yet to come if I don't vote. The fear of the unknown. The fear of who could run our country keeps me up at night. The fear of young people feeling hopeless so they don't go vote scares me. Then the visceral hate people have for African Americans. But despite my fears I understand voting is a must. There are many reasons you should vote.
America is still a democracy. They are counting on your vote as part of that process.
No one else votes with college students in mind. Many people vote while thinking of other constituencies: few voters are focused on the needs of college students. When issues like student loan rates, police brutality, campus carry, and admissions policies are on the ballot, who else is better qualified to vote than those currently enrolled in college?
College students, also known as millennial voters, are a key constituency in any, and every, election. With more than 44 million millennial voters eligible to vote, your vote can make a huge difference when banded with others in your demographic.
Many people fought for your right to vote. No matter your race, gender, or age, your right to vote came at a price. Honor the sacrifices others made so that your voice could be heard when theirs wasn't.
College voters can swing an election. As Rock the Vote reports in its (fantastic) Young Voter Myths and Facts PDF, "Joe Courtney won by 83 votes; turnout at the UConn polling place was up nearly 10x that" in Connecticut in 2006.
It is your civic responsibility to vote. I will like many others cast my vote and be a part of the solution and not the problem.