By: Paloma Valverde & Wendy Villalobos
Democracy is what keeps the United States, how shall we put this? United. We, as a nation, have a responsibility and duty to communicate how we feel, and voting is the only way to initiate change. Resolving issues in society, violence and the well-being of our nation, are all contingent on our votes. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to actualize change in our nation.
Other countries where dictatorship and hatred are tolerated, never experience the opportunity to vote. Voting is a human right. Voting is the only way that we can slowly heal; every major conflict can be solved through voting. We all have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to the well-being of our nation as a whole.
Womxn's March Denver wants to hear voices closest to home here in Colorado, especially our youngest generation of voters. This year, citizens 17 years of age and up will be able to vote in the primary election if they are going to turn 18 yrs old by Election Day. For the first time early on, there will be plenty of new voters looking at the most pressing issues on both a local and national level.
As a society, we have not put a lot of effort into listening to our young people, but hopefully things are about to change for the better. We must understand what makes our young people interested in the first place to vote and what their concerns are for their futures.
We are all on this planet together, so why do ignore so many vital participants? In order to make progress, we have to be critical of these things, ask questions and begin to allow for others to have a seat at the table.
That’s why it’s so important that we listen to their voices; they, too, are being affected by each decision that is made in our country, and it’s crucial that they have space to express what they are concerned about. They are fierce, brilliant, and know more than we sometimes give them credit for so this year, let’s also pledge to listen to their stories too.
And while there are still those who doubt that these new laws will affect the state in a positive way, we can’t help but think there’s no way a new wave of voters could be a bad thing! Let’s listen to some of these voices who are taking a stand, turning 18 by November 3, 2020, and are ready to get out the vote this year!
"Teen voters are one of the most important assets our country has to create change. These are people who have been limited by or have benefited from the effects of previous voters. Giving these teens a chance to finally give their input earlier opens even more opportunities for political involvement. As a first step into the real adult world, voting gives teenagers a chance to finally use their passion to make their country a better place for the future.
They have the most incentive to vote for progress, because they will be the ones who have to live with the repercussions longer. Political efficacy can be higher at such a young age due to schools' emphasis on discussing current events; teens see and talk about the issues in the country and think about solutions which makes them more eager to use their voice to redirect the issues.
Voting at 17 years old makes even more change possible by increasing the voting pool. There’s strength in numbers. A lot of passionate teens who care a lot about the world they and their future children will live in can have the most influence on politics through exercising their right to vote." - by Hailey Stepp
"Teens are one of the most overlooked age groups, but through the voting at the age of 17, as community members, we can finally add our input. Not only is it a change in tradition, but it also implements the idea that teens have the ability to make decisions for themselves.
Not long ago people of color and women were not even given the right to vote; the fact that we are able to register at such a young age is an honor but a civil natural-born right. Though this new change doesn't allow for voting in primaries, it does not disregard the fact that we are finally given the platform to discuss and vote on issues important to our community; especially when coping with the difficulties of high school and current norms.
When we hear the stories of our elders we see the political efficacy we don't see today. We hear of a time where voting was important and a rite of passage whereas now the rite of passage is just graduating. We finally get to take part in an issue that is larger than ourselves even though some may feel that their vote doesn't count, no vote is still a vote." -by Paloma Verde
The future is in all of our hands which include our young people around the globe and in the United States. They are the ones who will be left with the world we leave them, so why wouldn’t we fight to give them this right to decide what happens too?
We are in unprecedented times and the clock is ticking on important changes that need to be made. 17-year-olds are not ignorant of what is happening around them and now more than ever we need them to help us shape the landscape of this land to preserve, protect and promote prosperity for generations to come. Let us all get loud today and every day and support our youth. Let us remind them that their voice is their vote. And let us open more doors so that we can create a better tomorrow for all!
If you’d like more information on the new voting laws allowing 17-year-olds to join their voices with us all take a look at this article from Denver CBS Local: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/07/29/colorado-law-17-years-old-vote/
To learn how to register to vote and lend your voice to the cause visit: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterHomeMobile.htm