By CLARE FLANAGAN - How new voters can prepare for their first Presidential election.
For most students in the classes of 2020 and 2021, the 2020 Presidential election will be the first election in which we can vote, and it’s exciting to know that our actions can affect the future. With that opportunity comes a large civil responsibility to educate ourselves on the candidates running for office; however, following the campaigns and candidates can be a little bit overwhelming. In order to help out those of us who may not be as politically well-versed as others (including me), I did some research on how we can take to prepare ourselves and stay informed on the upcoming election.
Be clear on Individual beliefs. Whatever your beliefs are, it’s important to know where you stand on issues and policies that affect not only the nation but countries all around the world. Different candidates have their own platforms and agendas for their time in office should they make the presidency, so it is crucial that you understand what you stand for in order to vote for a candidate that aligns with your own vision. It might even be helpful to write down a list of your own viewpoints to reference when it’s time to watch the various conventions, forums and debates.
Don’t forget the current President. It can be easy to only look forward to what you will be able to change once you can vote, but it’s important to still pay attention to the decisions being made by the current POTUS. By watching what’s going on, you can see what you like or don’t like about President Trump and shape what you want to look for in a future president based on the one we currently have and the decisions he’s made such as the Paris Climate Agreement and tax cuts.
The news can be depressing, but that doesn’t mean you should turn it off. The news can be filled with stories of how scary a place the world can be (homicides, robberies, prejudice, etc.), but knowing what’s going on in the world is extremely important in evaluating whom you want to vote for in the next election. Each candidate will have a claim for what they plan to do with the country, and knowing the problems facing our country can help you determine whose “mission” you find most important. Watching the news can also expose you to viewpoints you may have never considered that could change your whole perspective.
Watch the debates, conventions and speeches. Although the 2019 State of the Union Address has already passed, there are plenty more important events to stayed tuned for. Other than the campaigns of the running candidates, two big events that will take place in the summer of 2020 are the Democratic and Republican Conventions. In these events in, the delegates from each party will select said party’s final nominees for President and Vice President. The Democratic Convention will be held from July 13-16, while the Republican convention will be held August 24-27. Though the events are a while away, it’s still good to know what’s coming down the chute
Register to vote! In Indiana, you must be at least 18 on or before the next general, municipal, or special election to register, but if you’re 17, you can register and vote in the primary election if you turn 18 on or before the next general election. You must also register to vote before a primary or general election at least 29 days prior to that election. You can register to vote, change your address, see where is your polling location or check who is on your ballot before voting here.