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10 Facts about why Voting is Important
The ability to vote allows citizens to say their opinion and choice on a variety of issues. In the American political system, voting allows registered citizens to cast their choice for the political leader that they believe can accurately make the choices that will better the country. However, there are thousands upon thousands of individuals who have the ability to vote, and yet do not. Discussed below are the key reasons why voting is important.

 

Top 10 Reasons Why Voting is Important:

 

1. The Millennial generation accounts for one-third of the electorate.

2. Less than 50 percent of eligible young voters ages 18 to 29 cast a vote in 2012.

3. 19 percent of all votes cast in 2012 came from young voters.

4. In 2012, 4 percent more young women voted than young men.

5. Young voters are more likely to support issues such as legalizing same-sex marriage, supporting a pathway to citizenship for immigrants and legalizing abortion than other age demographics.

6. 40 percent of millennials identify as non-white, making them the most diverse voting generation in history.

7. In most communities, the turnout for voting is less than 50 percent.

8. Every vote matters. There have been several cases in U.S. history where this has been seen. A New Hampshire Senate race was decided by two votes out of 223,363 in 1974. A Massachusetts gubernatorial election was decided by two votes out of 102,066 in 1839. And the Alaskan congressional race was decided by a single vote out of 10,035 cast in 2008.

9. Through voting you have the opportunity to influence the government.

10. In most state and national elections, you need to be registered to vote anywhere from 10-27 days before the actual election. That is why it’s important to regularly check if you are eligible to vote in your district.

In all, voting is a constitutional right and privilege that Americans have. It’s best to make use of that right instead of squandering it and disregarding what our Founders stood for.

Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Do Something, Post Star, Huffington Post, Independent
Photo: The Wannabe Luxembourger

How to Vote In Elections
The 58th United States presidential election is scheduled to take place on Nov. 8, 2016. Two Democrats and six Republicans remain on track for the election, as of Feb. 10.

As the day approaches, voters are under more pressure to become aware of the specifics on how to vote in elections. BallotPedia provides election information, including dates of primaries and caucuses for each party, information about the delegate selection process and a history of the most recent elections in each state. It also holds records of voting patterns and demographic profiles, which can be a valuable resource for voters interested in learning more about the factors that contributed to their state’s decisions in the past.

According to USA.gov, eligible voters are U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age and they need to meet their state’s residency requirements. Each state’s policy differs slightly but all documentation is easily accessible via the U.S. Election Commission’s website. Voters are able to look up the conditions on an interactive map of all states, which provides the exact dates of presidential and congressional primaries, primary runoff and a link directed to voters’ online registration.

In addition, USA.gov recognizes the complexity and confusion of the voting process. Therefore, “in an effort to simplify that process and bring the most important government tasks into the digital age, GSA has created an online voter registration tool,” as stated on its website.  The tool is an online platform – vote.USA.gov – that provides state-specific online resources and easy voter registration.

This tool aims to assist voters by providing a link to online registration of more than 30 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a form for voters to fill out and mail to their state’s election office. Voters should identify whether their state offers the National Mail Voter Registration Form before proceeding.

Hoa Nguyen

Sources: USA.gov 1, USA.gov 2, Ballotpedia, NY Times, Wikipedia
Photo: Unsplash

Voting ElectionsWith the presidential election coming up in November of this year, it is important to focus on the issues that matter most and remember the value of the vote. Every vote counts and determines the future direction of the U.S. and the world.

With that said, here are some of the best quotes from several well-known and influential figures to inspire you this election:

  1. “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
    – John Quincy Adams
  2. “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
    – Emma Goldman
  3. “A man without a vote is a man without protection.”
    – Lyndon B. Johnson
  4. “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”
    – Lyndon B. Johnson
  5. “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”
    – Walter H. Judd
  6. “Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.”
    – Rick Mercer
  7. “That we have the vote means nothing. That we use it in the right way means everything.”
    – Lou Henry Hoover
  8. “Voter apathy was, and will remain the greatest threat to democracy.”
    – Hazen Pingree
  9. “Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights. ”
    – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Mayra Vega

Sources: Goodreads, Intentblog, Politico, Cafemom
Photo: Glamour

Saudi_Women
Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections will be held on December 12 and for the first time women will be allowed to vote for municipal council leaders.

Municipal council elections occur every four years in Saudi Arabia. Two-thirds of the council members must be voted in and the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs must appoint the other third.

The late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud granted women the right to vote as well as run as candidates in 2011. Approximately 70 women are intending to register as municipal council leader candidates. Another 80 women are planning on registering as campaign managers.

The Baladi (My Country) campaign is a political campaign run by Saudi women activists. The campaign was planning to bring in teachers and trainers from different Arab countries as well as the United Nations for campaigning workshops.

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs stopped Baladi from holding the training workshops in an attempt to unify the election programme.

Women and men will have separate polling centers for voting. In Makkah there will be 40 polling centers with 14 set aside for women.

Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia have gradually increased and a royal decree issued by Abdullah in 2013 required the Consultative Council to be at least 20 percent women. The Consultative Council is an advisory body that is royally appointed.

Although these rights have made improvements for women in Saudi Arabia, the women are still far from equal. A male guardian must accompany the women when they travel or go to school. They are not permitted to drive.

Voter registration for the municipal council elections began on August 22 and will end on September 14. Candidate registration runs from August 30 until September 17.

Iona Brannon

Sources: Al Arabiya News, Al Jazeera 1, Al Jazeera 2, CNN, Saudi National Portal, Time
Photo: Google Images

biometric voting in ghana
Electoral fraud is a difficulty all democratic nations face. Processing the decisions of entire populations leaves room for deception and inaccuracy. Several African nations – such as Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – have combated voting errors with electronic, biometric voting. The latest nation to hop on the bandwagon was Ghana in December of 2012. The change was rewarded.

Voters are now required to register with standard biometric information: fingerprints and photographs. Before casting their ballot, they wait for finger scans and facial recognition systems to verify their identity. These are preformed on miniature Biometric Voting Machines, called BMVs.

The Ghanaian government, which has a reputation for stability in a struggling region, made accessibility a priority. During election season, 26,000 polling stations were operated.

Non-verified citizens were prevented from voting, so the stations and BMVs took technological precautions: the machines were run on AA batteries, a power source that could be easily replaced and rechargeable backups were sent out, and in areas with unreliable power sources, the backups were charged on government-procured generators.

There were errors that needed working out. Late distribution of BVMs postponed the opening of some polling booths. Malfunctions caused further delays. Some Ghanaians waited for hours, leaving the queue and returning the next morning before they could vote. Even more problematic, the systems were disconnected at first; there was no central database on which to store information. This would have made it possible for a voter to register at two different centers, then vote multiple times.

Still, the voting was carried out and widely considered effective: international observers called it credible. Voter turnout came in at 80.1 percent. BVM implementation has given many Ghanaians peace of mind. Since the pursuit of the program was transparency, the investment could be considered a success.

Splash technology is now leasing the voting system to pubic and private Ghanaian organizations. Anyone who wishes to conduct quick and transparent election, they say, should have the power to do so.

Olivia Kostreva

Sources: TechPresident, Ace, VOA, IT News Africa
Photo: TechPresident

Rock the Vote
#EndPoverty2030 is one of the most recent campaigns supported by The World Bank. For the first time in history, it is possible that we will eliminate extreme poverty across the world. It is up to the millennial generation whether or not this utopian dream becomes a reality. Rock The Vote has relaunched their campaign this year with the goal of getting 1.5 million voters registered by this coming November, 400,000 of whom would be 30 and under.

The Center for American Progress reports that the majority of the millennial generation supports and strongly identifies with progressive ideologies such as foreign aid and equity. Rock The Vote will help capitalize on this support by getting more millennials to the voting booths. Founded in 1990, Rock the Vote is a nonprofit campaign that utilizes popular culture to help engage young voters in the democratic process. The organization has gained support from cultural icons such as Madonna, rapper Snoop Dogg, rock group Aerosmith and singer Miley Cyrus.

The newly revamped Rock The Vote campaign will focus their efforts on the web and social media to account for the change in where young people now “hang out.” Rock the Vote will be making use of an updated website, online engagement tools and voter registration programs they have developed.

The organization is teaming up with Voto Latino to register 100,000 Latino voters by the November elections. Representatives are currently traveling with the Vans Warped Tour to encourage young citizens to register to vote. Rock The Vote is also fundraising for organizations that protect the right to vote and fight against restrictive voting policies such as the proposed voter ID law.

President Ashley Spillane of Rock The Vote explains, “We have run the largest voter registration drives for young people on record during the past six presidential elections.” Since the organization’s founding, the organization has been responsible for registering a total of six million voters. Now, Rock The Vote has become a valuable ally in the cause for eliminating extreme poverty.

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: Music For Good, Rolling Stone, The World Bank, Center for American Progress, Politico
Photo: Princeton Scoop