Originally Posted: Nov 1, 2018
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2020
There’s an important election coming up on November 6: the midterm elections. Midterms are held every four years, during the halfway point of a president’s four-year term.
The US Senate will have one-third of its members up for election, while all members of the House of Representatives are up for election. Additionally, there may be state-specific and local issues on your ballot—“questions” regarding laws and/or regulations that will impact only your city or state—depending on where you live. Thirty-six states will also have gubernatorial elections, meaning you’ll be voting for a governor. This election is important (as all elections are!), so if you’re eligible to vote, it’s essential that you do so. Why?
1. It’s an easy way to get involved in your community
While not all elections are as big as a presidential one, they’re just as important. City and county issues on your ballot could include providing more funding for your school district, renovating your roads, and raising (or lowering) local taxes. Most states have websites where you can enter your address and find a list of candidates and issues that will be on your ballot.
Related: Your Vote Matters
2. It allows you to make a change
Representatives are responsible for creating legislation and voting on issues that affect your future. For example, when you’re looking for a post-grad job, it’s likely you’ll want fair hiring practices and pay equity. Your representatives have a say on these topics and voting can give you the credibility to make your concerns priorities for legislators.
3. You get into the habit of voting
Research shows these habits are formed when you’re young. If you go to the polls once, you’re more likely to return during the next election. Let our generation be known for outstanding voter turnout!
4. Your vote can impact the election results
In the 2012 presidential election, at least 80 electoral votes depended on the youth vote. As of 2016, it was estimated that 46 million young adults (ages 18–29) are eligible to vote and make up 21% of the eligible voting population.
Related: 5 Reasons You Should Vote This Year
5. You get a pretty cool sticker
None of us are in it just for the sticker, but it feels pretty cool to boast that you’ve done your democratic duty as an American citizen. Show off that sticker and encourage your friends to register and vote too!
Voting information for high school students
If you’re 18 for a period of time before you go off to college and there’s an election, you should register to vote with your home (often called your permanent) address. You can vote on issues pertaining to your town/city and your county. Once you go to college, you can continue to vote in these elections through absentee voting or you can register to vote in your college town.
Voting information for college students
You have the right to choose where you vote, either at home or at school. Many states allow you to update your voting address online for convenience, or your school will have information on how to update your registration or register.
Don’t miss the registration deadline!
Many people miss out on voting because they miss the registration deadline. Make sure to know the deadline of the state you’re voting in and if they offer same day registration in case you forget. Information about states with same day registration can be found here.
Other great resources
- Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
- Campus Vote Project
Show us your “I voted” sticker by tagging us @CollegeXpress on Twitter!