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If you don't read the newspaper you're uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you're misinformed. -Mark Twain-

In less than a month, we will partake in another election. This one appears to be bigger than most that I have been alive for. There are major issues that need to to be addressed in our country.  We have all scrolled through social media and have seen the negative ads about the current candidates. I hear people talk about the election in public and argue why one candidate is better than the other. I watch the debates and listen to the candidates plan for change or reestablishing what we already have. I listen to them bash each other for past failures. I see their commercials that are in place to make the other candidate look like a terrible person. Very rarely do I see a commercial, debate, etc. that lays out a solid blueprint for what they are going to try to accomplish. You can visit the candidates website and learn some of their plans, but are they plausible? Will they help people?

I have to admit that I have been able to vote since 2001, but I have only cast a ballot in one presidential election. Many people shame me for this. We live in a country where we have the right to vote and express our opinions. We have a right to help choose the people who could potentially control our destinies and that of our children.  I have chose the right to refuse to vote in past elections. Why? Because the first time I voted I was uninformed. I chose the candidate that my friends and family were voting for. I chose the candidate that I heard the most in the media and seemed like a decent human being. After I voted for a bunch of people I knew nothing about I felt more ashamed for voting. I felt like I was guessing on a test because I was uniformed. To me, uninformed voting is worse than not voting at all.


1. Can you answer why? Again, I have heard and had conversations about our two presidential candidates with people. I have seen the ads. I have watched the debates.  For the first time, I can answer why I am voting for one of the candidates for president with what I feel are unbiased sources. I hear the same cliches on media outlets. "Hillary is a woman." Trump ran a successful business." "Trump is a womanizer." "Hillary is a liar."  Are you sure about about that?  Keep in mind that media outlets and people are going to post biased information to push you toward the candidate they want to win.  Information is easier than ever to find. It is important to research the candidates policies, plans, etc. If you vote for Hilary because she is a woman, or you vote for Trump because he has billions, you are voting for the wrong reasons. If you cannot give good reason and facts to answer why you are voting for a candidate then you should stay home.

2. The past is the past, the future is our children Candidates always bring up the negative pasts of each other. They go back 20 plus years sometimes. I understand it is important to understand the past of a person, a country, etc. But be careful what you believe and how you comprehend it. Imagine if your past was made public. Would you have a clean slate? Would you define yourself as a horrible person because of the things you did in the past?  We have all said and done stuff we wish we could take back. Maybe we did it to look cool or we were in a bad mood. When these videos and claims pop up about a candidates past, do not trust the media to inform you. Most outlets are bias. Do some research yourself and learn about the entire situation. Look more into how a candidate can help out the future of our country and how it affects each state. Everyone has a past and some would like to forget it, and we are all humans who have made mistakes. Make sure you understand the past, but we should be voting for the future. 3. Understand policies Our government and the candidates that represent Americans on a daily basis write policies frequently. These policies are usually made public and politicians are always very transparent (sarcasm).  Each candidate usually has a website where you can view their policies. It is often that the policies are written so the common person cannot comprehend.  They are usually long and drawn out policies that nobody really has the time to read. It is important that we as voters ignore the media, ignore the candidates, and dig in ourselves and try to get an understanding for the policies being presented.  Most of us do not have the time or want to take on this task, but with technology we can take a little bit of time to research and get the best understanding possible.  You cannot take the word of the politician nor the media. It is the responsibility of the voter to have the best understanding of policies being proposed.

4. Be independent In today's America we have a country that is more divided than ever.  One of the biggest divides is the Republican and Democrat parties.  The members of these parties often will say and do things to persuade people into their party. Morals and good judgement seem to go out the window.  When one thinks about a party affiliation, it is important to realize that it is just a title.  There are good and bad people in each party. A Republican should not vote all republican because they are a registered Republican.  Both parties have good to offer the American people. It is important that we do not get caught up in the left wing/right wing disaster.  As American voters we should be open to understanding both sides and then make a logical decision on what we think will be best for our country.   5. Don't play the name game It is often people vote for people because their name has been plastered on every billboard, news outlet, radio, etc. Or their vote might be swayed by a loved one.  Do not vote for someone because their name sounds familiar. Do not vote for someone because your mom told you to. Do not vote for someone because they spent the most money on yard signs.  There have been a a lot of bad people voted into office because of the name game or because they spent the most money on a campaign. Vote because you believe the person can be trusted and will represent the people the best. You have a right to vote and you should practice that right, but choose wisely. If you have not educated yourself on the the politicians running for office this November, you should stay away from the voting booth.  If you know why and can justify your vote with logical reasoning, make sure you get out and vote. 

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The 2016 election was a HUGE deal for Americans.  This year's candidates were mostly polar opposites on most major issues.  Our country could have made history and elected our first female president.


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