“Are you registered to vote?” is probably all you have heard for several months now. You most likely see voting advertisements on your social media accounts and on television. 

While it may seem annoying or redundant, voting during this election cycle is more important than ever.

If you care about minorities becoming victims of police brutality, women’s reproductive rights being under attack, our beautiful Earth dying due to climate change, elected governmental officials failing to pay taxes, and more, then you must vote. 

Casting your vote is your opportunity to advocate for change. 

If you do not like how your taxpaying dollars are being spent, then vote. If you do not like how the government is handling COVID-19, then vote. If you want more diverse, representative officials, then vote. 

President Trump has already begun the process of nominating a new Supreme Court Justice in replacement of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a women’s rights champion. If his nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is confirmed, then the Supreme Court could remain conservative for decades. 

Meaning, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and other social issues are at risk of being restricted. Even if you are not directly impacted by the election, chances are that somebody you care about is, and that should be all of the reason you need to vote.

Now, you may be thinking, “my vote doesn’t even matter,” but it does. Whether you are from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky—literally anywhere—your vote and voice matter. 

As you probably know, the presidential candidate can lose the nation’s popular vote and still become president because of the Electoral College. But this is why voting is critical; the Electoral College delegates essentially determine the election. 

Fortunately, 29 states have mandated that their delegates vote the same as the state’s majority. Meaning, if 51% of the state’s voters voted for Candidate X, then the delegates must also vote for Candidate X. 

FairVote lists those 29 states: http://archive.fairvote.org/?page=967. 

Additionally, previous elections have been decided by just a few votes; if more or less people would have voted, then the outcome could have been different. An example of this is the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. 

Perhaps this is your first time voting and you are unsure of how to register and the general processes of voting. You can view your state’s voting registration requirements at your state’s Secretary of State website. 

You can also utilize TurboVote in your ISU Portal to view your registration status. The American Democracy Project in the Center for Community Engagement on campus can help with any questions as well. 

Many states have no-excuse mail-in voting available, so you are not forced to vote in person at the polls. If your hometown is not near campus, you can also opt for an absentee ballot.

After you are registered, you may be wondering what or who you are voting for. You can go to vote411.org to view who and what is on the ballot. Here, you can see which candidates are running for which race and what those candidates stand for. 

You can even view candidates’ responses to popular political questions and anything else on the ballot, such as amending your state’s constitution. 

Now that you understand how to register to vote and who is on the ballot, it is important to remember what voting means. 

Our Constitutional Framers wanted to ensure that white men had the opportunity to elect the officials who serve them. Likewise, women’s rights activists and other minority advocates fought for women, African Americans, and Native Americans to also have the right to vote.

Historical figures fought for our right to vote; it is critical we use it, especially now.

The final day to register to vote in Indiana is Oct. 5 (Monday)! 

If you have any questions, please view your Secretary of State’s website or reach out the American Democracy Project in the Center for Community Engagement on campus. 

I think it is safe to say that Nov. 3, 2020 will go down in history.