(image credit: Your Vote, Your Voice)

This year is the first presidential election that many students will be participating in. On Nov. 8, shuttles will continuously run from the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) campus to the ballots. Students can register to vote that day at the ballots, even if they are already registered elsewhere.

It is not unnoticed that many Americans often feel disillusioned with the democratic system. There are many misconceptions around voting that can, and do, dissuade people from wanting to vote or from making voting a priority. Common trains of thought include those such as “My vote doesn’t count” or “It’s all about the Electoral College anyway.” This rhetoric then gets caught in a feedback loop between citizen and media that simply reinforces this belief.

It becomes problematic when this “Woe is me, woe is my country” ideology affects voter turnout. In 2008, the Presidential Election saw a high increase in young voter turnout, and studies cite this as a large factor in the results. The mobilization of 18-24 year olds is critical and powerful; however, this demographic can face incredibly unique challenges when it comes to the democratic process.

Among these such challenges that can go unnoticed is the constant mobility and change of residency. Many SNHU students do not live in Manchester, let alone, N.H., and must decide whether to vote absentee in their hometown or to claim domicile in Manchester or Hooksett and vote here. Too often, students choose neither.

There is also class, and jobs, and the confusing reality of Election Day not being a holiday from work, often barring citizens from having the time to get out and vote. These are genuine roadblocks that can affect and influence voters from participating.

While they are intrinsic of an arguably flawed system and can serve as means to further disappoint, SNHU has a consistent dedication to servicing voters, encouraging voters, and to accommodating voters. With a university advocating so wholeheartedly for the democratic process, voting becomes much more feasible.

Voting is an important civic duty of American citizens. This country was founded as a democracy, ruled by the people and for the people. Throughout our history, people have risked their lives to protect our right to determine what will happen in this country.

Regardless of your political background and which candidate you plan on voting for, please get out on election day and vote. We, as college students, are the country’s youth, and voting in this election can set the tone for the next four years and the following elections. Hop on a shuttle and get out to the ballots on Nov. 8 or make sure you complete an absentee ballot from your hometown if their deadlines allow for it.

Everyone should vote because every vote counts. Many people in our country complain about the government and what they are doing, both internally and externally.

By casting a vote on Election Day, we have the opportunity to make changes; however, if we don’t vote, it is unfair to complain because we did not make an effort to change anything. No one should waste this important opportunity.

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