Young voters can help change the course of American government

Election Day is right on the horizon. Some say this election is crucial to the preservation of democracy in this country. Voting day for the presidential election is November 3.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

The year 2020 has been laden with relentless negative events. A constant companion to all these events is the Covid-19 pandemic, with it’s U.S. death toll of 195,312 as of Oct. 2, according to the CDC. The death of George Floyd began the sweeping Black Lives Matter movement and many cities in unrest, with also many feeling injustices. America is currently in a state of division it has not seen in recent times, with lines in the sand drawn by Republicans and Democrats. The next president, if Trump is not reelected, will have much to contend with, to mend and to hopefully unify a country saturated with mistrust for the government in all party systems.

This year’s candidates and their running mates are Joe Biden/Kamala Harris, D, Donald Trump/Mike Pence,R, Jo Jorgensen/Spike Cohen, L and Howie Hawkins/Angela Nicole Walker, G. Though four candidates are representing different parties of Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party, focus from the media has mainly been spotlighted between Biden and Trump, illuminating the vast differences between these two candidates. Voting this election means keeping Trump in office as he is currently the sitting president, or having a new candidate who will lead the country differently.

Voting has been made uncertain to some this election, with the pandemic making voting in person a risk. Mail-in ballots are always an option and maybe the best option for this election. The U.S. has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the world for voters under age 30, at 38% lower than the global average, according to Forbes. The reasons for this statistic are unclear, but some reasoning may be less than comprehensive high-school civics classes, inconvenience due to hectic school and work schedules, the confusing plethora of information about candidates and the process of voting, according to the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Another issue that some young people have with this election specifically, is political apathy towards candidates, especially between Biden and Trump. They may disagree with Trump’s Conservative right-wing policies but not fully get behind Biden because he is not the first choice for a Democratic candidate, like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who were favorites for Millennials and Gen Z for their policies such as universal health care and combating climate change. Biden has similar policies as well.

Being apathetic to Biden and Trump does not mean one shouldn’t vote. There are always the choices of Jorgensen or Hawkins. Jorgensen’s campaign says it will focus on the American economy and cut down spending, including less involvement in foreign wars, pardoning 80,000 inmates convicted of drug charges and opposing government-mandated shutdowns. Hawkins will focus on an ecosocialist Green New Deal that his campaign says will help the environment and create many new jobs.

Biden seeks to unify the country, repair broken political global relations, such as the Paris Agreement, which Trump broke the U.S. from and focusing on middle-class America, according to his campaign. His policies lean centrist-left, in great contrast to Trump’s more right-wing policies and public display, like signing a resolution to withhold funding to health care providers that perform abortions or not being able to fully condemn white supremacists at the recent Presidential Debate against Biden.

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Making sure that each American can have their votes count and voices heard can be a small comfort that may lead to a better country at the end of this contentious year. Voting can be done by mail and the process has been streamlined to simplicity and efficiency. Registered Alaskan voters can request an absentee ballot by Oct. 24 at The State of Alaska Absentee Ballot Application website. Voters can check their registration status at The State of Alaska Division of Elections Voter Information Page. Voting day is Nov. 3.

For detailed information about candidates and their policies, visit Ballotpedia.