Editorial, Issue 4 – Volume CX – Why This Election Mattered

The 2020 election was different for a number of reasons: taking place during a pandemic, having a much larger number of votes that were not cast on election-day, and even having a few new battleground states that came into play for the ultimate result. However, this election also sparked the attention of the country like it never has before. This year’s voter turnout was the largest it has been since 1900, with over 160 million votes cast.

Regardless of your political affiliation, this is an achievement to be excited about. Our country has a dark history of voter suppression, dating back to the early days of the very first elections. And while voter access is still not perfect in this country — there are still many issues including voter intimidation, gerrymandering, and inaccessibility for incarcerated individuals — the record turnout that we saw this year was a huge step forward in the right direction. 

Around the country, some voters waited in line for hours in long lines to vote, not letting heat, cold, hunger, or exhaustion prevent them from casting their ballot. Some voters brought water and food to motivate those in line. People have begun to recognize, as they should have all along, that voting is their civic duty, and is the one opportunity they have to express their voice. 

At Parker, a very small percentage of students are of age to vote, but this year, students took initiatives to impact the election in other ways. Many students volunteered in local and national campaigns, participated as election judges on election day, shared news and information about polling locations and registration on social media platforms, and those who could vote did. 

As students, we must continue to take advantage of our education and do what we can, whether we could vote, couldn’t vote by a matter of days, or even couldn’t vote by a matter of years. It is important, beyond the 2020 election, to continue to educate ourselves and to not be confined by root thinking: allow yourself to develop new opinions and expand on old ones.

This year also proved that the power to impact an election does not only lie in the hands of eligible voters. The cause of many new voters, especially in battleground regions, was largely due to the impact of field organizers and volunteers, many of which were students. In the same way that every vote matters, so does every field organizer or volunteer. It can be difficult to imagine a single person’s impact in a country with a population of hundreds of millions, but this election proved it to be true. Without each and every call, meeting, and organizer, the country would not have achieved the record turnout that it did. 

Although it seems that “election season” is behind us, we must not let our political momentum be lost. In the meantime, find a local or national campaign to get involved in, or volunteer at an organization that stands for something you believe it. Or, just continue to educate yourself by keeping up with the news and current events. 

But if there is one thing we prioritize more than anything, it is this — please do not wait until 2024 to regain your political motivation. Big or small, your contributions will make a difference. As both Americans and students, we must remember the importance of our voices and continue to push for voter turnout. While this year was a groundbreaking achievement, we must continue to educate ourselves, educate others, and use our voices for what they were made for: making a difference and standing for what we believe in.