Regardless of the candidate you may be voting for in the election for this year, it is obvious that this year’s election carries a huge amount of weight for the current state of the United States. 

With social movements like Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood and other groups rallying for systematic change in the United States government, the issues of the current state of this country are continually being highlighted. If you follow any monopolies of media like Fox, ABC, CBS or others for news, then you are sure to have a view on the current state of these issues in America. These issues, regardless of your views on them, are bringing daily changes to America, which means it is important for us to be engaged voters now more than ever.

This election is also present during a time of a massive global pandemic, which adds to the cruciality of our voting. COVID-19 is still present and increasing in many parts of America, especially in states that have not required or mandated World Health Organization safety-guidelines or have not shut down. With this health issue that has been routinely ignored by the current president, it is important for voters to analyze whether or not their candidates are adjusting their COVID-19 policies with what is safest for America. 

Right now it is important for voters to focus on the rights of those being taken advantage of by our current flawed system and voting for candidates that can ensure equality is one step toward obtaining it. Look at not just who you may be voting for in the presidential election but also consider the other parties and occupations of our government that you will be affecting with your vote. Learn about representatives that may or may not share your views and encourage them to follow through with policy or action by making phone calls, emailing or getting in contact with them through social media. 

There are a number of great tools that voters can use to be more informed as they go into voting. First, almost all social media that college students use like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat offer easy-to-register voting options and maps that show nearby locations for voting. TheResistBot on Twitter also lets users create custom emails, messages or texts to representatives in your areas and has features like automatic letter-writing and voter registration.

Unlike the elections of the past decade or two, this election carries tremendous weight and consequence for the safety and rights of minorities and for our health as a nation in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inform yourself and find out more about who you may be voting for. Before you vote, make sure you understand what your vote means. 

Elijah Hunt is a senior majoring in journalism. They can be reached at ehunt8@vols.utk.edu.

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