Your voice counts, so vote!

Cristina Gunther, Staff Contributor

It’s late October, fall is in full session, and Halloween is just around the corner. This means the both dreaded and anticipated election day will be here very soon. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, citizens all over the U.S. will be assembling into schools, churches, and other venues in order to put their mark on the ballot and obtain their own “I voted” sticker.

Whether someone is of voting age or not, the 2016 election is surely a hot topic. However, the importance dramatically increases for those with the ability to vote. They know they should participate in the political process, but the most important question is, how?

A large number of seniors at Pleasant Valley are eligible to vote this November. However, the process of registering and the process of actually voting is a foreign topic for many students.

“I’m not going to vote because I don’t want to go through the hassle of registering,” says senior Julia VanHouten, who will be eligible to vote in this election. But what if the process of voting and registering could be an easy task?

Look at each of the candidates on your own. It’s easy for the media, family, and friends to influence you. No one will know what you put on the ballot except for you.”

In Iowa, it now is. By visiting the Iowa Secretary of State website at https://sos.iowa.gov, you can register online to vote. The website is very helpful, providing a step-by-step guide complete with informational videos about the process. The website provides you with a link to the Iowa DOT portal, which is where your actual registering will take place. The easy-to-use website walks you through each step, and all you’ll need is your driver’s license and the last 5 digits of your social security number, as well as your name and address. This is truly a wonderful option, because you can now register in the comfort of your own home as opposed to the old way, mailing in a form to the county auditor, which took a lot more time and postage stamps.

“It’s easy for people to say, ‘My vote doesn’t count,’ but what if a thousand people said that?” says government teacher Sara Russell. “Also, you’re not just voting in the big election, you also are voting for local representatives who really do need your vote.”

Russell also offers some advice for first-time voters, “Look at each of the candidates on your own. It’s easy for the media, family, and friends to influence you. No one will know what you put on the ballot except for you.”

If you are going to be 18 this election, it is very important that you stay informed and vote so your voice can be heard, because your future literally depends on it.