Staff Editorial: Mirador Wants YOU to Vote

Staff Editorial: Mirador Wants YOU to Vote

There are certain rituals that an 18-year-old has the moral imperative to partake in on their birthday. For instance, buying cough syrup, making it rain with all $12 of winnings from scratch cards, getting your very own Costco membership, the usual. However, this year, all of us legal adults and soon-to-be-legal adults need to place registering to vote at the top of our to-do list.

Registering to vote can seem sort of like flossing in that it’s one of those things that everyone tells you to do, but in the grand scheme of things doesn’t seem all that important. After all, there are roughly 150 million registered voters in the United States and only one of you.

However, if there is one thing that the Iowa Caucus taught us, it’s that despite the odds, every vote counts. When Rick Santorum, a man so widely disregarded that his only notable quality is the fabricated definition of his last name, came within eight votes of frontrunner Mitt Romney, we all should have realized the need to make a few adjustments.

After an event so startlingly close, it becomes time to take an active role in our country’s future.

In our community, it is easy to fall into an insular bubble because we don’t always directly feel the ramifications of the decisions in Washington. Many of us don’t have direct ties to the  ongoing War on Terror, most of us have health care, and many of us don’t worry about living paycheck to paycheck.

For the most part, our economic stability and our young age allow us the luxury of apathy. Many of us don’t feel the need to take part in politics because they don’t currently feel like a major factor in our lives.

However, if ever there was a time to start reading the news and engage in politics, it’s now. Every election is important, but few in our lifetime will be as important as the upcoming 2012 Presidential Election.

We no longer have the luxury of remaining idle and uninformed. The stakes are far too high, and the issues have come too close to home to permit us to bury our heads in the sand. Ambivalence can no longer be used as an excuse for ignorance.

Since 1971, when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, the youth vote has been considered notoriously unreliable. George McGovern is perhaps the most famous example of the fickle nature of the youth vote. In his presidential campaign in 1972, McGovern placed himself in stark contrast to Richard Nixon by promising to bring home the troops from Vietnam and grant amnesty to draft dodgers. Understandably, this platform attracted young voters for whom the Vietnam War was a constant source of fear and uneasiness. However, when it came time to vote, Nixon slaughtered McGovern 67 percent to 33 percent, in large part because the youth voters that McGovern relied so heavily on didn’t show up to vote.

Even as recently as in the 2008 election, many worried that America’s youth vote wouldn’t turn out to vote. Pundits debated whether Barack Obama was too reliant on the youth vote after famously using big name celebrity supporters and new media tactics to attract young voters.

However, the 2008 election witnessed the second-largest youth voter turnout in American history. Not surprisingly, 66 percent of young voters ended up voting for Obama, helping lead him to the White House.

It doesn’t matter what your political leaning is or whom your favorite candidate is. What matters is that you have political views and you have chosen a candidate who shares them.

It is our responsibility to continue the trend towards a higher youth voter turnout in the 2012 Presidential Election. Our generation will be the one picking up the pieces of the last decade in politics, and we should care enough to start making a difference now.

And as preachy and trite as it sounds, the easiest way to make a difference is to vote.

Luckily, registering to vote is a fairly easy and straight-forward process. The California Presidential Primary Election is on June 5, and the deadline to register to vote in the primary is 15 days prior on May 21. If you will be 18 by the Election Day, you are eligible to register to vote.

All you have to do to register is go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm, and click on the link to fill out a voter registration form online. Proceed to fill out the usual information such as name, date of birth, zip code, Social Security Number, etc. Then print it out, sign it, and mail it to the county elections office address that is already printed on the form.