First-time voter shares plan for 2020 election

Sophomore, Curtis Kenner, describes how he plans on voting during this year's election. Photo Submitted by Curtis Kenner

As the presidential election nears, the impending day can be nerve-wracking for both sides of the aisle. The stakes are high, and every vote matters, as this is one of the most publicized and controversial elections thus far.

Some young voters struggle in the election cycle and feel that their vote doesn’t matter or are uneducated about the voting process. Other first-time voters like sophomore Curtis Kenner take their first ballots very seriously.

“Right now, there’s a lot of issues that are affecting America, such as race relations, health and public safety during a pandemic and climate change,” Kenner said. “The outcome of this election is going to determine the very future ourselves and our children will live in.”

Staying informed can be simple when political news is constantly shown on one’s timeline, but choosing the right candidate might take a little more effort. Websites such as Ballotpedia share information about the election and its candidates.

“I stay informed about politics [through] social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram because, even without watching the debates on TV, you can’t get away from it because it consumes my entire timeline,” Kenner said. “Looking up and paying attention to what candidates say and seeing if their ideals match up with mine is the way I choose who works best for me.”

Registering to vote and figuring out which form of voting works best can seem complicated when voting for the first time. Luckily, there are websites like My Voter Page to check registration and other voting forms that do not require people to be at the polls on election day.

As the world fights against COVID-19, voting in-person and standing in long lines is not the best option for some as there are people who are at risk, or simply want to avoid the crowds. On the other hand, there is doubt that mail-in votes will make it to the election office given recent USPS delays. Weighing both options carefully, Kenner decided to cast his vote during early voting.

Originally, I was planning on voting through the mail in the absentee ballot because of the pandemic, but I don’t want there to be a mix up with mail-in votes,” he said. “Now, I plan on going in to vote early because I want to get it out the way as soon as possible.”

Understanding that his peers’ votes matter as well, Kenner encourages them to do their part of civic engagement. He pushes them to take their vote seriously and use their voices instead of just hoping things will change.

“This is my first year being old enough to vote for the presidential election,” Kenner said. “I know a lot of my peers feel like they don’t have the power to change to the community around them let alone the nation, but it starts with us.”

Kenner is unsure how the future will look after the election, but he is optimistic that his vote along with others will ignite the change that they want to see.