Go vote!

Voting has been a tradition in the United States since the eighteenth century. In the upcoming months, a lot of important elections will be held, and it’s crucial that the populace participate. (Image taken from “Elements of Civil Government” by Alexander L. Peterman; Used within the boundaries of public domain)

Primary season fast approaches, with seats ranging from Wake County commissioner to US House member up for grabs. With the current political climate, many believe that this election will be one of the most important in recent history. Like all midterms, this one will serve as a gauge of the Trump administration’s popularity with the American people. With an approval rating of 40.2% according to FiveThirtyEight, things aren’t looking good for Trump or the GOP.

While the general election isn’t until November, members of the Democratic and Republican parties will go to the polls in the coming weeks to determine who will be their candidate for the upcoming election.

Primary voter turnout rates are abysmal in North Carolina, and this is a major problem. Whether you’re a conservative, a liberal, a hardline communist, or a proud, card-carrying member of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, it doesn’t matter; letting eight percent of the electorate decide what candidates you have to choose from isn’t an optimal situation.

There is one remedy for this situation: voting.

Granted, voting isn’t the easiest nor the most convenient thing to do. Election Day being on a Tuesday makes it inconvenient for many people to participate, with some having to take time off in order to vote. Others lack personal transportation, and lackluster public transportation in most American cities prevents many from reaching the polling place. However, there are many ways to vote that don’t require you to go to a physical polling place. North Carolina offers early voting, which allows prospective voters to go to certain areas when they have the time, so they don’t have to take time off or otherwise inconvenience themselves to file their ballot. The state also offers mail-in voting, which allows voters to mail their ballots to the Board of Elections, as opposed to going to a physical polling place.  

More information on these alternative methods of voting can be found here

As far as the primary goes, North Carolina holds “semi-open” primaries, which means that registered Republicans can only vote in the Republican primary, and Democrats can only vote in the Democratic Primary. If you’re an independent like me, you can vote in either primary, no matter your personal political leanings.

And if you’re not registered yet don’t worry; if you’re looking to vote in the primary, you can register right before you vote at any time during the early voting period, and you register to vote for the general election up until twenty-five days before the election. More information on registration can be found here.

I’m asking you — no, begging you — to vote. Politics kind of suck and can be extremely toxic, I know that. But if we don’t participate, our voices won’t be heard, and politicians won’t have any real reason to listen to the concerns of teenagers or young people in general.

So look up the candidates, and see what they’re all about. After all, they could be the ones deciding where money goes, where schools get built, or whether or not the US Treasury should mint a coin commemorating the opening of a basketball hall of fame.

These maps can be used to find out what district you are a part of when it comes to the US House and North Carolina General Assembly, and these can help you figure out what Wake County districts of which you are a constituent.

DATES TO REMEMBER

April 19 – May 5, 1:00 PM: Primary early-voting

May 8: Primary Day

October 12, 5:00 PM: General election registration deadline

October 18 – November 3, 1:00 PM: General election early-voting

November 6: Election Day

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