Get registered and get voting

This week is our 2020 Presidential Election Special Section. We recognize that a lot is happening in the world at the moment, and there’s a lot happening in your individual lives too. Voting, however, is a fundamental aspect of our democracy. As you’ll see later in the paper, people have mixed feelings about voting in the 2020 presidential election. Some feel that we must vote, others feel that voting fails to address systemic issues.

If you watched the debate on Tuesday night, you’re probably still recovering. It was painful no matter which side you were on. If you are not on a “side,” but were hoping for some clarity to help guide your decision, maybe you feel more stuck now. While following political updates is exhausting, we encourage you to keep following the news and debates leading up to the election. Many people feel inclined to avoid any more coverage after the previous night’s dumpster fire of a performance, but do not feel discouraged. It’s still important to exercise your right to participate in the democratic process and vote for the ideas and policies you most identify with.

Additionally, there will be no issue for October 9th. You could take that time that you would have spent reading the paper or scrolling through the columns to further educate yourself on the campaign policies behind each candidate. You could also read our voter guide on page 11. In the voter guide, we provide a synopsis of each candidate’s stances on different issues. We absolutely encourage you to do your part, while recognizing that this is beyond daunting, particularly for young voters.

What if you don’t want to vote? Maybe you’re dissatisfied with both candidates, or you don’t know how to mail in a ballot. Maybe you’re afraid to go vote in-person due to COVID-19 and its threat to all of us. These are all perfectly valid reasons to be hesitant to vote, but keep in mind that these issues are also being addressed by those passionate about getting people to participate in this election. Between online guides and Twitter threads to social distancing, election clerks and other voting optimists are willing to work with you to make sure you get your ballot in. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. These are uncomfortable, scary times. We all need to rely on the people who are helpers.

If you’ve felt unhappy with the current state of the nation, or haven’t, be sure to let your voice be heard. Of course, voting won’t address all systemic issues; they’ll still be there. Voting someone into office doesn’t automatically eliminate racism or misogyny in the workplace. These are deeply embedded into the way our society functions. Instead, voting offers us an opportunity to see our beliefs represented.

Nonetheless, people are doing legitimate groundwork that addresses systemic issues. This groundwork cannot be diminished by who is or isn’t in office. Their purpose is to serve the people in the community directly. So if come November your desired candidate doesn’t win, don’t feel entirely hopeless. Get involved in local efforts that align with what you believe in. They’ve been doing the work. Now you can too.