by Erin Hogge
Coronavirus concerns should not take priority over one’s civic duty
Like countless young people in America, I will vote in my first-ever presidential election this November.
But with COVID-19, I do not know what the next few months will hold. Certainly, more people will become infected and others will die from the virus. This is why it is more important now than ever to make one’s voice heard, as those we elect to office will be making decisions that directly affect millions of people.
Amid the chaos created by the coronavirus, do many people even care about the election at this point?
I believe we should prioritize our civic duty to vote for our country’s next leaders. We cannot afford to let the fear of contracting a virus, which has a global death rate of approximately 7%, prevent us from carefully selecting the president.
Anna Culotta, 20, of Eldersburg, Maryland, a rising junior at Penn State, said she, for one, “looks forward to voting,” despite the widespread effects of the coronavirus.
She will have the ability to vote, as Maryland has moved its presidential primary election to a mostly mail-in version rather than a traditional in-person polling location.
“I’m disappointed it can’t be in person, but [I’m] still looking forward to participating in my civic duty,” Culotta said.
With many states already having altered their voting methods, there is no excuse for anyone to not exercise their right to vote.
In Pennsylvania, voters no longer need an excuse to apply for an absentee ballot. This means that those who might be afraid to go vote in person at their usual polling location will not have to do so. They can simply send in their ballots.
It’s how people can express their opinions — and our opinions matter.Sofia Patronelli
Sofia Patronelli, 20, of Middletown, New Jersey, also a rising junior at Penn State, is passionate that every eligible American voter should be counted in the November election.
“Go vote,” Patronelli said. “Not only is it every U.S. citizen’s duty to partake in elections, but it’s how people can express their opinions — and our opinions matter. It is our responsibility to pay attention to the facts, listen in on the [presidential] debates, and watch the news so each individual can make an educated vote.”
Patronelli expressed disdain for those who post political opinions on social media but don’t take the more important step to vote. She said the thing that really matters and makes a difference in the country is when people cast their ballots for president.
“It is important that everyone votes every election year,” Patronelli said. “But because of this pandemic, it is especially vital that everyone who is of age [votes] in this November’s election.”
Not everyone agrees. Jess Kuhn does not believe that Americans’ voices are truly heard through voting, because the Electoral College, not the popular vote, ultimately dictates which candidate will become the nation’s leader.
The coronavirus pandemic has not caused Kuhn to change her mind about voting.
“The main reason I don’t vote is because there is no middle ground between political candidates,” Kuhn said. “You have to be either extremely right or extremely left to agree on all matters that our candidates propose. The people in the middle, who have beliefs and strategies for both sides, are always outvoted for more right- or left-wing people.”
While I do not agree with Kuhn’s opinion, I understand her thought process regarding elections.
I have always been politically active, even voting absentee in my local elections when I was away at college. I did this when some members of my own family back home did not realize an election was taking place.
Despite the coronavirus craze, I will proudly vote in November and believe that everyone who is able to do so should vote as well, because it is the best opportunity to effect change. And if you choose to throw away your precious vote, you do not have a right to complain about the consequences.