This year, on Constitution Day, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment. The amendment guaranteed 18-year-olds the right to vote in all United States elections and outlawed age discrimination among eligible voters.
Throughout this landmark anniversary, we celebrate the youth vote while recognizing that barriers facing young people, and particularly college students, have prevented our country from fulfilling the guarantee of the Constitution and the 26th Amendment. Expanding the youth vote is about more than just age. Today’s youngest generations are the most diverse in our country’s history, and achieving the promise of the 26th Amendment goes hand-in-hand with striving for racial justice – and eliminating voter suppression.
Young voters also face both legal and psychological barriers to voting. As a result, individuals around the country, on college campuses and in communities throughout the U.S., are doing extraordinary work to lead movements of democratic participation and civic engagement.
As we continue to ensure that our work contributes to the transformation of our democracy for the better, we also need to encourage others to help put the 26th Amendment into action. Highlighted below are the top 5 reasons why you should vote:
- Make Your Voice Heard – Voting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure that your opinion and viewpoint are heard and understood, especially amidst competing and compelling voices and opinions. If you don’t vote, other people will make the decision for you.
- It’s Now Easier to Register to Vote and Vote: With the option to vote by mail, you do not have to go to a polling station to cast your ballot. If you’d like to vote in person, you can do so early in Pennsylvania.
If you need assistance with voter registration or voting early, please visit NCC’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement online portal at my.VoteEverywhere at Northampton Community College OR email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your Community Depends on You: Your community is comprised of friends, family, and neighbors. Some may have the ability to vote but do not understand the importance of voting, while others may not be eligible to vote. When you vote, you are helping your community and even the nation for the greater good.
- Decide How Your Taxes Will Be Spent: Most people do not know how their tax money is being spent. By registering to vote and voting, you are taking an action to choose how your tax dollars are spent.
- Carry On the Legacy of Activists Who Advocated for Your Right to Vote: Given the history of voting rights in the United States, you should not only exercise your right to vote, but also encourage others to be active and engaged citizens.
You are important, and your voice matters now more than ever. So, get out and vote in every election and exercise your Constitutional rights!