Why is it important to register to vote?


East Roswell Library encouraging others to vote! Credit: Marjorie Hsu

Marjorie Hsu, Co-editor in Chief

If you are 17 and a half or older, you can register to vote. Recently in Centennial, people in the cafeteria were encouraging students to do so. They handed stickers, pamphlets, and answered any questions, and a popular question was: “Why should I vote?”

Social Studies teacher Zach Wroblewski said, “Young people, especially, need to vote. It’s your constitutional right. It is an expectation placed on you as a citizen to be involved, but that’s all high and lofty. The real reasons are that young people care about issues related to the youth,” he said. “They are the voice of those issues. If people don’t get out and vote, there’s no reason for people to create legislation about those issues. Politics affect all of us,” he added. 

With the 2020 elections around the corner, many people will encourage others to vote because it gives you a say in what affects you. It’s especially befitting with Generation Z because they’ve been so politically involved in social movements such as: climate change, LGBTQ rights, gun control, feminism, and more.

Municipal elections in Georgia will be held on Nov. 5, 2019 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eligible citizens can register to vote by going to the usa.gov website. Afterwards, people can find a polling location at mvp.sos.ga.gov. Once a person arrives, they must have an identification card, such as a driver’s license.

During national elections—like voting for the President—it may seem that a person’s vote is meaningless amongst millions of others votes and the electoral system, but every vote counts. According to census.gov, people of ages 18 to 29 took up 38 percent of the voting-age population, which means they can largely influence the election. 

If someone wants to get more involved in politics or more informed, Wroblewski said, “Whatever issue is important to you increase your understanding of it. Seek out information from varied sources, and go out and get involved. There are people just like you who care about those things. If you say you don’t care about politics, but if you care about your salary, your insurance, rent, you care about social issues like reproductive rights or police brutality or whatever it may be, you’re involved in politics,” he said.  “And, it’s your duty to go out there and have your voice heard, and to boost your opinion on these things. It’s a lot easier to be persuaded by lies if you’re not involved,” he added. 

Being political doesn’t require individuals to go above and beyond for a certain cause. On the other hand, if someone really wants to, there’s a lot of unexpected ways. Wroblewski said, “You can get those meetings with people. You can get people together and have something change. And, it’s easier now than ever to create a social movement.” 

Take Centennial student Ethan Asher for example. A recent Accolade article, highlights how he got involved with his community by passing a bill, organizing peaceful protests, and working with many others to spread the word. It goes to show that no matter one’s age, they can impact society. 

It can be more beneficial to vote locally versus nationally as “locally is where a lot of the decisions that impact your life are made,” Wroblewski said. The things that immediately impact your town, your community happen at the local level. Roswell city council, their elections are decided by hundreds of votes. It’s not millions of votes,” he said. 

When asked what advice he’d give to new voters, Wroblewski said, “Vote with your instinct. This is the most technology advanced generation, most socially aware generation, this is the most accepting, compassionate generation that cares about social issues. Go out and have your opinion heard, especially at the local or state level. Your vote absolutely matters. You have elections decided by hundreds of votes that can sway anything. If you care about issues, you have the best platform that has ever been created with mass media, communication, and all those things. I highly encourage every person out there to vote and to dive into whatever it is your passionate about.”