There is a common misconception, especially among people my age, that our votes don’t count. I woke up early to get to my polling place, expecting that there would be a long line and that casting my ballot would take up a large chunk of time. Instead, I was the only one there under 40, and I managed to complete the entire process in less than 20 minutes.
I voted blue in a predominately red state, for the lesser known of the Democratic candidates. The odds of my candidate winning in Alabama were slim to none, but the best thing about the electoral process is that you can still have hope until all of the ballots are counted.
The results of Super Tuesday were painful to behold. I wasn’t surprised that Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic primary, but I was appalled at who we collectively chose as a state for the Republican nominee. Donald Trump openly mocks disabled people, women and Muslims. His proposed plans to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico could be grounds for impeachment if he became president. And yet, the majority of the Republicans in Alabama chose him.
Still, I was more taken aback by the fact that Alabama only had about a 40 percent voter turnout. According to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, that was actually considered a record high.
Millennials are a scared and angry generation. We mistrust the government. We don’t feel knowledgeable or equipped to handle this political climate, and we’re vocal about it. If you walk into the caf, there’s the possibility of hearing a heated political discussion. We share political memes and jokes on social media. So why are we not voting?
The Secular Student Alliance at Montevallo hosted guest speaker Chuck Miller on Friday, March 4, and he talked specifically about the importance of the millennial vote.
The irony was not lost on me that the event about low voter turnouts had a low turnout. During the discussion, Miller talked about how much of a difference could be made if young people were more politically active. He explained that while we are more than capable of forming educated views on politics, we still let ourselves believe that we are outnumbered.
Miller also mentioned that to make a change, more people have to vote from the bottom up. Believe it or not, presidential elections aren’t the only important ones.
It is imperative that we vote to ensure that we are accurately represented in Congress and the Senate, as well as within our counties and our hometowns. We are faced with a plethora of options on how to instill political change in our cities, states and country. The only thing we have to do is make a choice.