With only one month until the general election, sending out a call to vote to readers is a moral imperative we cannot ignore. Many political scientists and journalists describe this upcoming presidential election as ‘historic,’ and trust us, they are not exaggerating. Here are just a few reasons why your vote matters now more than ever:
Key issues at stake
If the climate crisis is something that keeps you up at night, you are well aware that we only have a few years to act before the damage done to our planet is irreparable. The major party nominees, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, diverge on their views on climate change. While Joe Biden has voted for many environmental bills on the senate floor, Donald Trump has referred to global warming as a ‘hoax,’ amongst other dismissals. Considering that the U.S. is the country with the second largest contributions to carbon emissions, the outcome of this election has a drastic effect on climate change, one way or the other.
The candidates also disagree on a number of other key issues. Health insurance, immigration policy, racial injustice, and foreign policy regarding nuclear arms will look drastically different depending on the administration in the White House next year.
Have your voice represented
Voter turnout has been low since the 1980s. However, there is a direct relationship between age and turnout. In the 2016 election, 70.9% of voters over 65 came out to vote; 66.6% of those between 45 to 64 years old; 58.7% of 30- to 44-year-olds; and a measly 46.1% of 18- to 29-year-olds. A lower turnout amongst millennials and gen z, who are the largest voting block presently, means that the total population’s priorities, political alignment, and voice are inaccurately represented.
It’s cutting it close
If we have learned anything from the 2016 presidential election, it is that a slim margin can change everything. Hillary Clinton and Trump were neck-and-neck, and while Clinton won the popular vote, Trump took the electoral win. This was just a demonstration of how small communities can determine an election.
And that’s not the only example in recent U.S. history: In the 2000 presidential election, it came down to 537 votes in Florida. That’s right––George W. Bush might not have been president for eight years if only a few hundred more Al Gore voters showed up to the polls.
Many polls and surveys project a similar closeness between Biden and Trump. In fact, the House of Representatives is even preparing for the event that there is a tie between the two candidates (in which case, the vote goes to the House). Depending on your source, you will find that one or the other candidate is only ahead by a few points.
What such a close race means
Every vote matters. Your decision to sit this election out can very well alter the outcome. In a similar light, many left-wing voters may have their reservations about voting for Joe Biden, given his moderate stance and problematic history as senator. But voting for a third-party candidate means that the Democratic votes will be split and, compared to the right-wing vote’s loyalty to the Republican party, this will all but ensure Trump’s victory. You have heard this phrase numerous times this cycle and last, but it is truly about picking ‘the lesser of two evils.’
By exercising your civil right to vote, you are partaking in an age-old democratic practice enshrined in the Constitution. If you are not particularly patriotic, consider how voting will affect your immediate community directly: elections can determine local funding for schools, public transportation, how much you pay in taxes, and much more.