Editorial: Voting Matters, Do Your Research

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You’ve heard many people tell you that voting matters. And truly, it does.

Voting matters so much so because it is your vote that can impact change. Many countries around the globe do not allow their citizens to vote.

And not too long ago, women couldn’t vote. Even today, there are some restrictions on who can vote or not depending on the state, city, and county where one resides. These laws are unfair and do not allow people to have a voice in their election.

The majority of young people becoming involved with politics has increased since the election of Donald Trump and democratic political candidates like Bernie Sanders. This is great news because it means more people will have a voice when it comes to electing the next President of The United States.

With the recent political drama surrounding President Donald Trump and his administration, we need to have our eyes wide open when researching what we will be voting for. Not only has there been fake news surfacing since the 2016 Presidential elections between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump but this fake news has caused outrage, one which is not precedented by factual information.

It is imperative to be able to step aside from your political point of view whether it is on the left-wing or the right-wing or even slightly to either side and take a look at the larger picture.

The reason that this is important is because we are living in the digital age. We can choose what we want to see online. We can choose to ignore the republicans point of view, we can choose to ignore the democratic point of view. We can choose to read articles that paint some of the democratic candidates in a negative light.

For instance, logging in on Twitter to see younger folks speaking negatively about democratic candidate Kamala Harris tweeting about her past decisions and political actions that discredit her from being a potentially great President. Many younger folks are letting these online opinions sway their votes without doing actual research and getting to decide for themselves.

 

Taking opinions from people online and applying them to the real world in ways such as voting is irresponsible. Recently Twitter banned political advertisements after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chose not to do so.

 

In a series of tweets following the announcement on Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey said “A final note. This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”

 

Other political figures chimed in like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who tweeted “This is a good call. Technology – and social media especially – has a powerful responsibility in preserving the integrity of our elections. Not allowing for paid disinformation is one of the most basic, ethical decisions a company can make.”

 

The major point was that political advertisement could be dangerous. Especially when social media and the internet are so new to us which is what Dorsey explains when he says “that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.”

 

The same applies to tweets that are not advertisements but endorsements from your fellow peers or just other people whom you might follow. These endorsements can sometimes not be completely accurate and it is disinformation that is wandering about.

 

We can choose to be careful about what we pay attention to. We can opt-out of looking at opinions that only favor us and look at every single point of view. It is okay to disagree with others, but the fact of the matter is that we must take voting very seriously and this means doing proper research.

 

Some people argue that there have been dangerous rhetoric that the President has put on the United States that has influenced many and led to violence and a more visible face on racism in the country.

 

This has led to a great divide in the country, one we have probably never witnessed as younger folks. We used to think we lived in a country where everybody felt the same about bigotry and ignorance, but now we have realized that these things have been amplified by our political climate.

 

The reason it is important to do your research is so that we can all take accountability for what happens. We can all choose what the outcome will be. We have the right to be able to choose who we want our leaders to be. This is what living in a democracy is all about.