The importance of voting

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Contributed by Lucy Hale

“I am counting on discerning voters like those in the Georgia Highlands College community to be committed voters this election,” said Lucy Hale, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia.

Oct. 5 voter registration deadline quickly approaches — Georgia League of Women Voters president, Lucy Hale, calls students to action this election season.

In the 2016 election, young people 18 to 29 years old contributed only 19% of votes. As we near the next election in the midst of ongoing pandemic, turnout is a bigger concern than ever. This is especially true for young voters, who historically vote less than other age groups.

“Young people have a reputation for being interested in politics but not following through,” said Lucy Hale, this Friday in an interview.

The League of Women Voters, or LWV, is a nonpartisan political organization whose mission is to empower voters and protect democracy through education and advocacy. Hale reached out to the Six Mile Post as a call to action for GHC students to vote this year.

“As an older person, I am counting on discerning voters like those in the Georgia Highlands College community to be committed voters this election,” said Hale.

Hale emphasized that voting is a way to create change and that students should view voting as something they do for their future. These sentiments are echoed by others on campus who want to see students at the polls this year.

“What I think GHC students should remember is that for every one of them that doesn’t vote, that’s another elected official who was picked by their grandparents,” said Steve Stuglin, a communications professor who is holding a course on engaging in the 2020 election this semester.

Through his teaching, Stuglin invites students to engage in political content at their own pace. Like Hale, Stuglin stresses what’s at stake for young people in voting, even mentioning the consequences of not doing so.

“It’s our means of engaging with the democratic republic in which we live. It’s our fundamental piece of power… The number one consequence of not voting is you might feel even more powerless than you did before… Like you had some power and you chose not to exercise it,” said Stuglin.

Hale suggests creating a voting plan as the first step for voters who are unsure of how to begin.

Step One: Register

Potential voters should check their registration status at My Voter Page. If not already registered, it only takes a few minutes. Registration closes October 5.

Step Two: Decide how to vote

Voters planning on going in person on November 3 can find polling locations with My Voter Page.

For early voting, use this tool from the Secretary of State website to find voting locations and times. October 30 is the last day for early voting.

Another option is absentee voting, or voting by mail.

To request an absentee ballot, complete an absentee ballot form and return it to the county registration office. Fill out the form online via the Secretary of State absentee ballot request portal. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 30.

After filling out an absentee ballot, mail it to the correct local election board or leave it in a ballot drop box. Use this website to locate drop boxes for specific areas.

Absentee ballots must be received by November 3.

Step three: Get Informed

Each county’s board of elections webpage contains information about each candidate and provides a sample ballot. Research candidates ahead of time to be thoroughly informed and ready to vote.

County Board of Elections Websites:
Rome/Floyd
Douglas
Bartow
Cobb
Paulding

Additional resources for voting:

Calendar of Important Dates for voter registration

League of Women Voters homepage

VOTE411, a one-stop resource for election-related information provided by LWV.

LWV document a step by step guide on the voting process

We’ll see you at the polls!