Americans deserve equal access to voting

Voting is a right, not a privilege

%28Collegian+file+photo%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

Americans deserve equal access to voting

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

By Meghan Carney, Collegian Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






From early September until Election Day in November, my Instagram and Twitter timelines were the digital equivalent of 500 people screaming “VOTE!” in my face at the top of their lungs with remarkable enthusiasm. As a newly crowned 18-year-old, I was thrilled to see that it was finally my time to go to the polls, and this time not just to wait outside at the bake sale while my parents voted.

Registering to vote was as easy as clicking a few buttons on my phone, receiving a confirmation email and waiting for Nov. 6 to come so I, Meghan Carney, could get in my very own cubicle and bubble in answers SAT style, except this time it actually mattered. I would be participating in democracy for the first time in my adult life. Like so many others, I was born into a generation that attends rallies and marches to advocate for gun control and gender equality that are often written off or ignored by the opposition. Voting cannot be written off or ignored.

Young people were called upon during this midterm election. As my roommate sat in Berkshire Dining Commons, she was approached by a girl with a piece of paper, and within two minutes she had acquired for us a free ride to our polling place. I was delighted to know we would not have to pay for an Uber. Alternatively, Lyft also offered 50 percent off rides to polling places, making it accessible and affordable to us poor college students.

Taylor Swift, John Krasinski, Lin-Manuel Miranda and countless other celebrities painted their social media with the importance of voting as well as selfies sent by fans proudly boasting their “I Voted!” stickers as they promised they would, spreading awareness and making voting trendy. I mean, when Jim from “The Office”tells you to vote, you vote. No questions asked.

As I signed in to vote, I heard a volunteer turn to her colleague and say “I’ve never seen so many voters, and so many students! It’s really amazing.”

I wondered how many students showed up to the polls in the past and questioned if I had ignored pro-voting social media posts because of my inability to participate, or if this election was the first to get so much publicity that voter turnout exceeded the kind volunteers’ expectations.

Problems at polling stations are receiving a lack of coverage and acknowledgement on social media. The push for people to participate seemed to end on Election Day, though problems began in many states, including Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina. In Snellville, Georgia, voting machines malfunctioned, leading to long lines. When voters need to wait in three-hour lines, it discourages a desire to vote for Americans who have jobs, families and lives to attend to. Of course, it is important to make some sacrifices to vote, however it is noticeably unfair for some to vote with such ease as others are faced with malfunctioning systems that should have been sorted out beforehand. Zellie Imani, a voter in Snellville, took a video of the long line at a polling station in a primarily African-American neighborhood, where no power cords were supplied for the machines used to vote. Voting should not be a privilege that depends on the community someone lives in.

Since voting is fundamental to our country, as so many celebrities seem to agree, these problems should be receiving more attention. Regularly scheduled programming has resumed on Twitter, aside from about one day of election results.

Electronic voting machines having no power cords is an oversight that should be talked about. The voting process was delayed in a more than unreasonable manner for Americans who were eager for their voices to be heard. Caring about politics should not end when the polls close. When voting is not equal for all, it shakes platform of democracy that so many take pride in as American citizens. Ignoring these issues only takes away the power of voting.

Meghan Carney is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]