A New Voter’s Guide to the 2020 Election Year

The entrance to Lake Forest City Hall, one of the local polling places that is currently hosting early voting for presidential primaries.

Carson Ward

The entrance to Lake Forest City Hall, one of the local polling places that is currently hosting early voting for presidential primaries.

Carson Ward, Staff Writer

Carson Ward, Staff Writer

Every presidential election is crucial to the future of the nation, but given the increasing tensions between Republicans and Democrats in recent years, the 2020 election feels especially important.

Every election year brings in a new wave of voters. For the first time in their lives, the LFHS seniors, along with some of the older juniors, will be able to participate in the voting process. Thanks to the efforts of the League of Women Voters, many students have filled out the proper paperwork to be eligible to cast their ballots. 

Some people have been waiting for years to proudly walk into a voting booth and come out flaunting an “I Voted!” sticker. They have been following politics for years, attending rallies, and donating to the campaigns of their favorite candidates.

However, some people haven’t been paying too much attention to America’s political proceedings. They don’t know which candidate they prefer, what their platforms are, or even where they themselves stand on the issues. If you are one of the people who has been rather apathetic about politics for most of their lives, it’s time to wake up. Make an effort to educate yourself and take advantage of your newfound rights.

The first step is to figure out your own political beliefs. If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to stop parroting your parents’ political opinions and figure out where you stand on the issues. The easiest way to do so is by going to isidewith.com. There, you can take a poll that asks you about issues such as health care, immigration, gun control, and more. This allows you to see which candidates agree with the most of your beliefs. 

Next, do some further research on the candidates. Go beyond political ads and what you hear on the news. If you were thinking about voting for Michael Bloomberg solely because he promised he would “get it done” during the commercial break of the Super Bowl, you’re doing it wrong. Most of the stuff you hear on TV is being presented to you with a heavy amount of bias. Instead, go on candidates’ campaign websites and figure out how they actually plan to change America. Dig into their pasts and discover what they have accomplished during their times as politicians.

If you’re really feeling investigative, look at their voting records. Seeing what a candidate has voted for and against throughout their careers provides a glimpse into what you can expect from them in office.

A democracy is only as strong as its populace is informed.”

In an ideal world, every new voter would take some measure to educate themselves and get excited about exercising their right to vote. However, it’s an unfortunate reality that some people will remain uninterested in politics. Whether it be a dislike for all major candidates or just an overall lack of interest, they won’t feel an urge to rush out to the local voting center either this Tuesday or in November.

Many feel that the voting eligible who lack interest in politics should still vote. Some have even gone as far as to say not voting is a slap to the face of every person who has fought for America’s freedom since its inception. 

However, this could not be further from the truth. Voting is not an obligation — it is a right. Just like all rights, you have the freedom to exercise it whenever you choose. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech. Does that mean you are disrespecting those who fought for America’s freedom when you don’t make your voice heard every time you are upset with something the government does? Of course not. As long as you have the ability to vote, peacefully assemble, or practice whichever religion you please, then the sacrifices of this country’s forefathers will not be in vain.

People should not feel the need to vote just for the sake of voting. They should vote because they believe in President Trump and want four more years of him in the Oval Office, or because they are dissatisfied and want to do their part in making a difference in this country.

Going to the local voting center is not something you reluctantly do just because of pressure from peers, adults, and celebrities on social media. It’s more than something you do so you can check it off your “to-do” list. It’s an opportunity to stand up for what you believe in and do your part in shaping America how you see fit. 

If you’re planning on putting in the effort to vote in the primary or presidential election, it’s crucial that you put in the extra effort and inform yourself. Something as important as choosing the leader of our country for the next four years should not be taken lightly. Blindly voting without any research isn’t any better than not voting at all. A democracy is only as strong as its populace is informed.