By Jake Dipaola

Elm Staff Writer

It is an election year and that means a new presidential race, promises of new policies, and a lot to pay attention to. Teens and young adults born between the years of 1999 and 2002 will be voting in their first presidential election, and with that, I want to stress the importance of voting as well as voting smart.

There is no excuse to avoid making your mark on the voting ballot; quite literally, every bit of it counts. If others around you all seem to be voting on one candidate then still speak your mind, be it for the same or different candidate as those around you. If it seems futile, then encourage friends and family in other states to vote.

The mindset that one vote will not make that much of an impact may be true with regard to one citizen, but when adapted individually by thousands, it becomes dangerous. Enough people believing that their thoughts and beliefs will not make a difference ironically leads to quite a lot of people not voting, and thus makes a larger impact in any election.

History details many battles on and off the fields of war fought to preserve the right to vote. To let this negative mindset spread and not vote because you feel it is significant to say those struggles and sacrifices meant nothing.

“It’s important because the government that is elected is supposed to represent the people, even if it’s the opposing candidate from the one you cast your vote. Women fought for the right to vote and so did African Americans. They wouldn’t have fought so strongly for a right that didn’t mean anything,” junior Bradley Melzer said.

Voting is to put your voice at the front of the nation. It is important to acknowledge the fact that your decision will contribute towards the selection of an individual who will speak for you and those around you. It would be wise to select someone who you believe will make the changes you want to see and paves the way for the state of the country for at least the next four years.

To say the 2016 election was heavily divided and tumultuous is difficult to refute. Protests, social media pages and posts, and just about any conversation on the street during that time are testaments to that. Uproars and outrage can come from being uninformed, which is why smart voting is something all voters should aim to do.

It is important to stay up to date on the happenings of the world as well as the candidates and their policies. Whose changes are best made for our present nation? Who is the best man or woman to represent our nation? How will they best represent me?

This is why it is necessary to hear the words of those with the opposite opinions as well. If you read an article or absorb a news station that is in no way what you have heard from others, then read more. Watch more. Stay informed. That is the kind of second opinion you need to make the right decisions. No truth is absolute, and no story has all the same details.

“I think it’s important to keep informed on what the candidates stand for and will do. If you go in blind, you could be blindly supporting a future you don’t want,” junior Will Rotsch said.

So ’99 to ’02 kids, get your subscriptions, apps, and news channels ready for the election year, because it is a necessity to pay attention to as many different sources as possible. If you have been ecstatic or outraged with previous election results, now is your time to make a difference.

The Elm

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