Intimidated by Voting? I Was Too

One Influenster staffer shares why they're voting 

Melanie N.
ByMelanie N.
Staff

A few months ago, I got a notification from Facebook memories. It reminded me that the below picture was one of my most liked posts ever:

 

Despite some of my closest cousins and friends being more politically informed, some even working within various grassroots organizations, the above was pretty much my stance on anything that had to do with politics. That is, up until the 2016 presidential election.

I remember seeing the election coverage here and there — on the news and sprinkled throughout my Facebook feed. I read anecdotes every now and then, but I definitely wouldn’t have called myself informed. And I had no intentions of voting in that election when the candidates began their campaigns. In fact, I wasn’t even registered to vote! Prior to the election, everything that the government was doing seemed... fine?  Affordable healthcare was now available to everyone, and as a child of immigrants I was happy to hear about the passing of DACA. Selfishly, things were fine in my personal universe. 

When I finally came to the decision that I wanted to vote, not being registered became a problem. As someone who can be easily overwhelmed and knew nothing about how the voting process worked — I didn’t know where to start. Honestly, this was a huge part of why I was 24 and not a registered voter in the first place.

I had no idea if I had to physically go to a post office or a [insert cringed face] DMV to get registered. The whole process felt too much for my brain to process. So, I did what anyone would do — I Googled it at work. It turned out that registering to vote was quite easy. Within 5 minutes, I was a registered voter! And I still had more than enough time to finish everything else on my to-do list. 

Between the 2020 election coverage and feeling like my social media feeds have turned into three parts recycled news articles, funny tweets about current events, and a call to vote — it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed, or even cynical about this year’s election. In the times that I get cynical (which has been happening a lot lately) or feel like our government system is extremely confusing (which is more often than not), I remember my shift in perception just a few years ago. 

When it comes to my friend group, it varies. I have friends who still aren’t registered to vote and friends who are volunteering at the polls, and that’s okay. We’re still able to talk about current social issues despite having people who are at different ends of the spectrum. I went from completely staying out of politics to actively choosing to participate. And the sole reason was because I had become someone who has grown to be more self-aware and confident in her values and stances on social issues, even if they may differ from people I know or family members who I love dearly. 

So this is for anyone who feels like this whole voting process is overcomplicated and intimidating. As someone who went from being D.W. in the image above to someone who is creating a voting plan, I’m here to tell you that it definitely can be overwhelming, but it’s nothing that some quick research can’t simplify. Here are some great resources that I personally used in the past that I found extremely helpful: 

Are you registered to vote?