Are you registered to vote? Have you updated your voter registration recently?
If I had a dollar for how many times I’ve heard these two questions, I’d probably be as wealthy as Donald Trump. I’d pay my taxes, though. I’ve been asked these questions while studying at D.H. Hill Jr. Library, walking towards the Atrium and in Talley Student Union. These two questions can seem so ceaseless sometimes; nonetheless, they are vital at a time like this.
Every four years, the U.S. holds a general election. For most individuals, this election is a matter of life and death, whether you realize it or not. Unfortunately, there have been countless arguments I’ve gotten into with members of my generation and older ones.
They consist of mindless platitudes such as: “Why should I vote?,” “My vote doesn’t matter,” “I hate both of them, so I just won’t vote,” “I’m voting for Jesus!” and more.
As someone who comes from a family of immigrants, this is quite the privileged take. Whenever an election rolls around, my father wishes he could vote. Since he has a green card, he is unable to vote in general elections. So despite being like every other American citizen who pays taxes and can travel the country freely, he has no voice in this upcoming election.
This is a similar situation for ex-felons in the U.S. While every state has different restrictions and guidelines for felons who are released, only two states allow felons to vote while they are incarcerated. For the remaining felons throughout the U.S., they must endure having their rights taken away for simply committing a crime. In North Carolina, felons lose their right to vote until completion of the sentence which could be parole or probation. They receive automatic restoration after.
Now before this is taken the wrong way, I am not excusing all felons for their actions. I am only claiming that, as American citizens, they still deserve the right to vote. For a country that upholds “freedom,” this isn’t such a democratic move.
Even as the U.S. so proudly talks of democracy, not all individuals in this country have had voting rights for their entire existence. Women have only had this right for a century, and that does not include all women. Asian-American, Black, Native-American, and Hispanic women have had to fight for their suffrage as well. With a century of pining for our voices to be heard, this is not a year that we can afford to throw our votes out the door.
With fewer than 40 days left till the general election, it is with great urgency that I ask that all individuals over the age of 18: Get registered to vote and make your voices heard. Vote for those who cannot and like your life depends on it.
Editor's Note: Updated headshot.