With only a few weeks until a very important election in November, our TV’s, neighborhood billboards and social media feeds have started to flood with ads and requests for our votes. I’ve even received a few text messages from various candidates and causes hoping they can count on my support come November 8th.
In light of this and all the talk surrounding the anticipated and encouraged outcomes, I think there a few crucial things to remember when you vote, either in person or by mail in ballot.
1) There is more than one opinion
Social media, namely sites like Twitter, are hubs for conversations on controversial topics. And with algorithms tracking popular topics and their corresponding responses, people are quick to notice the opinions gaining the most favor—a.k.a favorites and retweets. Depending on who you might follow on Twitter (or other social media sites), your feed might become full of these retweets/reposts, so much so that it might seem as if it is the only available to have. It’s important to remember that this is not the case. Every issue has multiple sides and arguments that favor each, so do your research and pursue these sides. It’s the only way you can properly determine where you stand.
2) You are allowed to hold any opinion you choose
In doing research on the sides of an argument, it’s important to realize that as much as supporters and opposers would like you to believe, there is not one right opinion. Opinions are based on personal values and circumstances, so what might seem clear cut for one person, might not make any sense to another. Figure out where your values align and base your opinions and ultimate votes on those discoveries. Outside opinions are great for research and understanding but they should not dictate your individual vote.
3) Vote your own vote
I’ve seen a number of celebrities and famous personalities make a special effort to encourage people to vote this year, which is great. Voting is a privilege, one that is so often taken for granted, and as role models in our society, I think it’s so valuable for them to present voting not only as important, but exciting and cool. I myself have a number of people I look up to that constantly post encouragements to make my voice heard, and it stirs something inside me. But here’s the thing, we need to let their encouragements stop once we get to the poles. We cannot cast ballots based on who we think we should vote for and we should never vote to impress celebrities or to further their opinions. This goes back to #1: figure out your own values, and where you stand on issues, because that is the only way to make your vote count.
The most important thing to remember this election season is to vote. Don’t make an excuse, don’t be lazy, and don’t throw away your chance to make your voice heard. Your vote matters, your opinion matters, and we are blessed to live in a country that allows both of those to be heard. So go out and be part of something bigger than you. It’s important. Plus, you get a sticker.