Voting sign

Our generation is about to partake in one of the most important elections in history, and it’s crucial we’re prepared for it.

Before Louisiana has the big presidential election in November, we have the primary election. The presidential primaries help the two political parties determine the candidates for the upcoming presidential election.

The primary voting day for Louisiana was originally scheduled for April 4, but it was pushed back to July 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When voting, many people only view the presidential election as relevant, but University mass communication professor Robert Mann shared why local elections are just as important.

The key to getting wanted changes like a new bus route on campus or better roads is electing local officials who can make it happen, according to Mann. 

"State representatives, representing a small area in or near your campus, can make [change] happen. Voting for the president is important, but the daily problems and issues that concern most people are resolved by local officials," Mann said.

Mann has a long history of working in politics, being a communications director and press secretary for multiple politicians like U.S. Senators of Louisiana John Breaux and  J. Bennett Johnston, and urges students to address their concerns by voting. 

"For young people, especially, if you want elected leaders to take you seriously, they must know that you show up and vote. Every time. They have to know you base your vote on how they respond to you and your concerns," Mann said. "If you don’t vote, you get taken for granted or ignored. If you don’t vote, you don’t count."

According to census.gov, "in 2016 young voters ages 18 to 29 were the only age group to report increased turnout compared to 2012, with a reported turnout increase of 1.1 percent during the presidential election. 

Considering data by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement shows in a majority of states in the primary election of 2016, “the percentage of young people (ages 17-29) eligible voters who cast a ballot in 2016 was equal to or greater than in 2008,” the youth of America seem to becoming more politically active.

Voter turnout is known to be low with the younger demographic of the country. The past elections show more young people are going out and using their vote to make their voices heard.

When going to vote it's important to remember to social distance as much as possible. Also, take other safety precautions like wearing a face mask, washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. 

You can find where to vote, if you haven’t done so already, and look up your voter information to get your voting locations here.

For information on Louisiana voting and what you need to bring, you can go on the Louisiana’s Department of State’s website here.

Geaux Vote and LA Vote by Mail could not be reached for comment.

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