I voted in Harrisonburg this morning at Stone Spring Elementary. Where are YOU planning to vote? If you sent in an absentee ballot, good for you. If you’re registered here in Harrisonburg, make sure you exercise your responsibility as an American citizen and vote!

In all honesty, it kills me when I hear people say “Oops, I forgot to register” or “Eh, neither of them are great, so I just won’t vote.” It kills me because we have the benefit as American citizens to vote in a democratic republic, in a place where our voice is heard and our vote counts.

Even if you don’t like either of the two main party candidates, vote for a third party. At least the third parties will be representative of how the country feels during this election, and you made your voice be heard. And plus, if you’ve ever taken a stats course, you know that the higher the sample, the more representative it is.

I understand that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns don’t just want a big voting turnout, but want GOTV efforts for their candidate only. However, I find this mindset to be flawed. On the one hand, it makes sense that candidates would advocate the “only vote for me, or don’t vote at all” mindset, but doesn’t this diminish our political responsibility to vote?

Well, if it’s too difficult for candidates to advocate for voting in general, other politicians and the media should. Although with politicians folks will know their political ideology, it doesn’t always mean they’re voting for their party (especially when it comes to this election). It’s a shame that when politicians advocate for “voting in general” that it is seen as taking a hit at their respective party’s candidate. For instance, when Sen. Ted Cruz told voters at the Republican National Convention to “vote [their] conscience,” it was taken as a direct hit to Donald Trump. My question is, why does it need to get to that point? Why can’t politicians advocate to simply vote?

If advocating to vote gets too sticky for people in the political arena, I am telling you now to get out and vote. And if you’re voting here in Virginia, you have until 7pm tonight to get out to the polls.

Throughout this blog, have you noticed that I haven’t said who I voted for? Right, because that’s not the point. Of course in the end it will matter who you voted for. But no one is required to tell anyone who they voted for, as it’s a personal matter. This is all the more reason to be an advocate of democracy, rather than for a specific party or individual, and use the freedom others fought to give us.

If you’re on Twitter, use the special hashtags #Election2016, #ElectionDay, and #IVoted to share that you’ve participated in America’s political process!

Thought I’d share mine…

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