Column: Every vote counts

Change starts with making your voice heard – one vote at a time

As Election Day approaches, it’s now more important than ever to register to vote. By the next presidential election, millennials are projected to outnumber baby boomers. This could shift Texas’ political alignment from being traditionally Republican to Democratic, depending on how many young adults take action and make their voices heard.

Given all the uproar in our most recent presidential election and my own personal disagreements with current policies, I’m relieved I’ll finally be old enough to have a voice in who our future leaders will be. Knowing me, I would’ve held off registering to vote had I not pushed myself to write this column, which in all honesty, I’m kind of dreading to write. The point is, if you’re of age 18 by Nov. 6, 2018, the day of elections, it is extremely important to register for voting. The upcoming election is for Texas senator. Senators have the ability to write and vote on new laws; the primary candidates are Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Although I may not agree with everything Sen. Cruz stands for, I have to appreciate his hard work in creating the “El Chapo Act,” which seizes money from cartels to fund building “the wall,” and introducing the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act, which bans refugees coming from “terroristic” countries. Cruz also plans to take tax away from Planned Parenthood, fights for religious content at school and defends the constitutional right to bear arms.

On the other hand, O’Rourke, a three-term congressman, is campaigning all throughout Texas for affordable healthcare and is providing jobs to Texans as well as the education and training needed to be competitive. Beto is also working to abolish ICE, implement stricter background checks for gun owners/reform and make affordable contraception accessible along with safe/legal abortions.

In order to be eligible for voting, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 17 years and 10 months old by the time of registering, 18 by Election Day and not declared mentally unfit or a convicted felon. Registering for voting can be done through person or an application online; keep in mind, you will have to mail a physical copy to the address provided on the top right of the application. In my case, I’m filling the application out online and printing it. On the voter registration application, it thoroughly explains how to find out if you’re already registered, when to register by (the deadline is Oct. 9 for the Nov. 9 election), as well as changes made since the last time you voted.

Millennials will be a large voting block that could easily shift views from a mainly conservative view, to more liberal views. Whether you are for O’Rourke or Cruz, it is safe to say every vote counts, and that starts with you. I will be mailing my application to be able to vote shortly after this is published. More information can always be found on the internet, libraries and even local political events. Use your resources. Stay educated.