Outraged? Mad? Worried about our country?Take Action – Be a Voter!

Becoming a voter is the essential first step towards activism. Voting is taking a stand at the poll, where it really matters. Every single vote is significant because many important elections were won and lost by just a few votes; this is the reason campaigns spend an enormous amount of money to get each and every one.

Currently, the White House, Congress, and Senate are dominated by one political party. Additionally, the Supreme Court‘s balance is tipped to the conservative side after the last Justice appointment by the current president. The domination of all branches of government by the Republican Party combined with the specific people currently in power have already led to many far-reaching government actions and policies within less than a year. The Dakota Pipeline, Muslim ban, DACA repeal, immigration crack-down, Paris Climate Agreement withdrawal, severe cuts in services in health, education, job training, low income assistance, emergency preparedness and environmental protection reach deeply into all aspects of our lives daily and for years to come. Lack of basic regulation to reign in the proliferation of assault-type guns in light of the mounting death toll from gun, and failure to assist Puerto Rico adequately after two devastating hurricanes are also concerning.

We are, however, not powerless. We still have the right to vote. We can voice our view, attend town halls, and write or call our elected officials – but voting is the easiest and most effective way to be heard at the local and national level.

There are many crucial elections coming up in 2018 which have the potential to restore some of the checks and balances necessary for a democracy. There is much at stake and we all need to get ready to exercise our vote. However, registration usually needs to be done ahead of an election, so this month, the traditional election month, is a good time to make sure to register to vote and remind friends to do the same.

The best part is that registration can be done instantly online at registertovote.ca.gov. The site is very simple and registration takes two minutes to complete. Visitors to the site can even use other languages (nine are offered!) There is no special paper work required. Most people already have everything needed on them. Only a California driver’s license (or government ID number) and a social security number are needed. The actual documents are not needed, only the numbers. Without these numbers, it is still possible to register by answering a few online questions. And there is no need to print or sign anything. The driver’s license or California ID number allows extraction of the signature from DMV record.

Not yet eighteen? People who are sixteen and seventeen year of age are able to pre-register at the same site for automatic registration on their birthday! Register once and vote in all future elections. Not sure of registration status? There is a link from the site to easily check.

The Census reports that 2018 will mark the first time that millennials will surpass baby boomers as the largest voter-eligible age group. Therefore, young people such as college students potentially wield significant power as a voting bloc to impact societal changes and determine our country’s direction. However, people in the younger age group historically register to vote at a low rate and so their potential as a force of change at the poll may not be realized. But with so much at stake, we cannot afford to not take the future into our hands. Hopefully recent events serve as a wake-up call and students will start to harness their voting power in addition to voicing their opinions. To be heard, it’s imperative to register to vote.