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Whether you want to Keep America Great, make the billionaire class pay their fair share or see the first woman president, casting your ballot this coming March will show baby boomers that millennials and Generation Z will no longer be idle when it comes to choosing our elected leaders.

The politics of young Americans are in a realignment and our generation is playing a significant part in that.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of United States eligible voters cast a ballot during the 2018 midterm elections. That’s 122 million Americans who cast a ballot, the highest in a midterm election year since 1978.

Additionally, a study done on Illinois State University showed there was a 13% increase in students who voted in 2018.

Political pundits and elected officials are beginning to realize that young voters, ages 18-29, clearly played a significant role in 2018 and will continue to shape elections in 2020 and beyond.

A common complaint heard in the political world is younger generations being upset about policies that either only benefit older folks or negatively affect younger people.

Make no mistake, there definitely can be obstacles that hinder youth voter turnout; some of that is done purposefully.

Voter participation in the U.S. has always been historically low, with 60% of non-voters not voting due to process issues.

Most everyone we know has a smartphone, and apps such as TurboVote now make registering and requesting absentee ballots available at the tip of your finger.

TurboVote keeps track of voter registration, absentee and vote-by-mail rules for all 50 states. The app will send text and email reminders about registration deadlines, upcoming elections and where to vote.

It’s safe, secure and no one's data will ever be shared with a third party.

The upcoming elections will have issues that are near and dear to us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freshman or senior, marketing major or fashion merchandise major, there will always be something on the ballot that you care about or has affected you or someone you love.

Climate change, gun violence, marijuana, voter suppression and an array of other issues will be addressed in one way or another this election cycle.

If we care about our future, the future of our families, we’ll get to the polls in March and November.

If those hot-button issues aren’t enough to get you up off the couch, just remember there’s someone out there with the completely opposite view on how the world should be and they will be at the ballot box.

There’s no longer any excuse for us not to vote. Apps such as the one mentioned above have taken the most difficult part of the voting process out of our hands.

The only and most important part we have to do is get to the polling stations on Election Day and make our voices heard.

ANDREW DOUGHERTY is a News Reporter and Columnist for The Vidette. Contact him at vidette_addough@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @addough


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