Last week was National Voter Registration Week, where thousands of students around the nation registered to vote. It signaled the approach of state elections all around the country later in the fall. This year’s election race is especially gripping, with Georgia House Representative Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State, Brian Kemp campaigning against one another. Students at ABAC should remember that the deadline to register to vote is October 9th for the November elections.
There are many issues that the two have approached. While the two parties have argued about controversial issues, such as abortion and the legalization of marijuana, many other issues surfaced as well. Mass-shootings all around the United States caused politicians from both parties to address their solutions. Abrams pushed for universal background checks and banning assault weapons while Kemp suggested the solution should be arming teachers kindergarten through twelfth grade, according to The Times newspaper.
Immigration rhetoric was not only something that propelled Trump into the White House, but its issues have been greatly contested and defended. Abrams believes in a clean DREAM Act and providing legislation for a path toward citizenship for undocumented people in the country. Kemp believes in ending DACA, something he believes provides amnesty to “illegal immigrants many of whom… [have a] criminal background,” although DACA by name and by policy secures childhood arrivals from deportation. Kemp also promised to “round up criminal illegals,” in an ad in the primary election.
As President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese products, many farmers around the U.S. became concerned as to whether financial aid would alleviate the harm imparted by the trade war. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the two candidates’ take on the economic sanction that harmed farmers. Abrams believed it was a terrible idea to harm the operation of business while Kemp, who at the time was endorsed by President Trump, was hesitant to criticize the economic policy and instead supported his decision.
Abrams stated that she was a “staunch defender of reproductive choices when it came to abortion while Kemp stated that he would “sign the toughest abortion laws in the country”. Both, however, believe in funding education K-12.
Voting is an absolute responsibility for youth transitioning their life into young adults in the “real world.” Voting is a right that many take for granted. According to the Pew Research Center, Georgia had a population of almost one million Latinos in 2016. The demographics look much different in Georgia compared to twenty years ago. Only around two-hundred-ninety thousand of those Latinos are eligible to vote, however. And though over a fifth are eligible to vote, only one hundred twenty-seven thousand Latinos are registered to vote. This is a surprising contrast compared to seventy-eight percent of white Georgians who are eligible to vote. The contrasting ratio between eligible Latino voters compared to other demographics can be greatly explained by considering the vast number of Latinos in the state who are undocumented. During the past state and national election, major policies have been tossed that affect the undocumented community, —people who do not have a say about their lives. For my community, it is important that the youth vote for those who cannot because real policies are constantly brought to the table that has an impact on our lives at home.
Remember, to register to vote, you can simply go to Vote.org, a website where you can also check if you have registered in the past. Contact your local Student Government Association member if you have any questions about absentee ballots or registering to vote. You can make a difference!