Monday, November 7, 2016

America: Go Vote!

Taking a little break here from our travel logs to encourage all of our fellow Americans to get out and vote tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is a big day.  Every election day is, but I think tomorrow is even more monumental.  Maybe it's because social media has become such a big part in election campaigns that we've been hearing about this election for what seems forever.  Or maybe it's because these candidates seem to be even more polarizing than the previous ones.  Or maybe it's just because I'm a little bit older and hopefully a little more wiser on how much American politics affect world politics.

Regardless of the reason, tomorrow's election is extremely important.  Mike and I have spent the last year answering questions about this election and the candidates from almost everyone we meet abroad. They are fascinated and always want to know our thoughts. I never realized how closely foreigners follow our elections, but I think it goes to show how much of an impact our president and government can have on world politics.

Lots of people are struggling this election to find a candidate that suits them.  I understand.  If we've learned anything from this election season, it's that none of the major candidates are perfect. We've got rape allegations, email scandals, and a lack of major international cities plaguing these candidates. Despite their imperfections, one of them is going to be our president, regardless of whether you vote or not.  So, you should vote. For me, I've found a candidate that, despite their imperfections, has shown a history of support in the issues I care about most. Maybe that's your route. Or, maybe you can find a candidate who's VICE presidential candidate you feel strongly about.  At this point in the election, I'm probably not going to change your mind on why you should vote for my candidate, so I'm not really going to try. Instead, I'm just going to encourage you to vote.

If you truly cannot bring yourself to vote for a presidential candidate, you still need to go to the polls. There are TONS of state and local elections taking place that probably will affect your day-to-day life much more than the presidential election.  These people are the ones who make decisions about things such as public transportation and school funding.  You also have the opportunity to elect people for school boards and voice your opinions on referendums, such as light rail or charter schools.

There are so many issues that are on the ballot this Tuesday that there is something for everyone to feel passionate about.  Voter turnout in the United States has always been low.  We usually see about a 50% turnout from people who are of voting age, whereas Turkey had an 84% turnout last election and Germany had a 71.5% turnout.   If no other reason motivates you to go out and vote, let a little competition between countries help get you out to the polls.

If you don't know where you can vote or what time the polls open and close, click here.

If you need a ride to the polls, this website coordinates carpools to the polls.  Also, in Pennsylvania, you can get a free ride on UBER or LYFT using the promo code VOTEPA (so cool!).

If you aren't sure what identification you need to have (it's changed in a lot of places!), you can check your state's requirements here.

Like I said before, I'm not trying to convince you to vote for a certain candidate or referendum because I realize at this point, most people have made up their minds.  Instead, I just want this election and it's results to be representative of the people.  America is great and has great people who deserve to have candidates they support. There are millions of people around the world who are denied the right to vote every day.  Luckily, American citizens don't fit in that category. It's your job as an American to exercise that right and show up to the polls to vote. If I can cast my ballot from Berlin, you most definitely can do the same from the United States.