As Athenian statesman Pericles said, “just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” No matter who you are, politics affects you whether you would like it to or not, which is why getting out to vote is the simplest way for you to have a voice in what happens in your country, state, county, or city.
In 2020, there are many elections happening, the most publicized being the Presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. Along with that, on your ballot there will be Senators running for election in your state, along with the US House District Representatives and your own state’s House District Representatives and many more local representative positions.
Local elections, such as District Representatives, are arguably the most important positions you can vote for because of their direct impact, but unfortunately those positions are not paid attention to as much as the presidential campaigns. This being said, in order to vote in these elections, you need to know when and how to do so. Each state varies slightly in terms of dates and when you have to have certain things done, but the first step is making sure you are registered to vote.
If you have not registered or want to check your registration status, go to vote.org. This website has already been used many times by Maryville College students to register and check their status with Maryville College Votes.
After you are registered, the next step would be to determine how and when you are going to vote. As a Maryville College student, you can request an absentee ballot with the reason of being away at college, if that is how you choose you would like to vote. In Tennessee, the last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27, and to be safe, it is best to mail in your ballot at least a week and a half before election day on Nov. 3. This is to ensure that your ballot will get there on time and your vote will be counted.
Along with absentee voting, you can vote in the most traditional way, which is in-person voting. With in-person voting, many states and counties are also doing early voting. Early voting is very important because it allows the opportunity for all of those who do not want to stand in line the day of election day to get their civic duty done sooner.
Each state varies with when you can start early voting. Tennessee has already started theirs, and if you are registered to vote, you can look up your voting location based on your address and cast your ballot today. If you are a residential student and claim Maryville College’s address as your own, your voting precinct will be at the Chilhowee Club, which is only a few minutes away from campus. Figuring out where and when to vote is very important to do as soon as you can to make sure that there is no chance to miss a deadline for your state since each is different.
All of this being said, it is important to vote. It does not matter who you are voting for as long as you do. Whether it be for Trump or Biden, your vote matters and your voice will be heard. It often can be intimidating to vote in a state where you feel as if your vote will not make a difference but have hope in yourself to make a change with your vote. Nov. 3, 2020 will be the date that will give you a glimpse into the future of the country, and you have a say in how that will go. So, how will you vote?