A Beginner’s Guild to Being Politically Active as a Teen

Eleanore Hoffmeyer, Staff Writer

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In this day and age, it seems as though there’s no shortage of issues that need to be fixed or addressed. However, as a teen, it can feel overwhelming and hard to find ways to have an impact in our chaotic world. In an attempt to simplify the process of being an involved and informed citizen,  we’ve created a simple guide of some of the best ways to be politically active and impactful in our world. 

1. Become aware of the world around you! 

The first step to becoming politically active is to be aware of current events and issues in your world! You won’t be able to make a political impact if you don’t know what you’re fighting for, so make a point to learn about what’s happening. Try and get your news from multiple sources, as some sources are biased and present a skewed version of the facts. Or, if going to multiple sites is too much work, BCC, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR are frequently cited as unbiased news sources. After becoming informed of the facts, you can develop your own opinion. 

2. VOTE! (or register to vote)

Voting is single-handedly the easiest and most important way to make an impact as a citizen!

“But mY voTe DoESn’T maTtEr.” That’s completely false. Forty-two percent of Americans thought their vote didn’t matter in the 2016 election and look where that landed us. 

Even if you’re not 18, you can still register to vote as early as 16, meaning if you’re old enough to steal a senior’s parking spot (I’m looking at you, sophomores), you’re old enough to register to vote. 

Not only that,  it’s super easy! You can register any time after you turn 16, by any of the following methods: Online, email, fax, in person (i.e. at the DMV), or at a voter registration drive. 

If you’re registering online (which you can do here), you just need a Colorado state-issued driver’s license or ID card. 

If you’re registering through email, mail, or fax, you’ll need to submit the Colorado Voter’s Registration form (Form 100) to your county clerk’s office through email, mail, or fax. 

And if you’d rather do so in person, you can register at the DMV, military recruitment office, public assistant’s office, or a voter registration drive. All you need is your driver’s license or state-issued ID card. 

You can register at a voter’s registration drive 22 days before any election, online or by mail 8 days before an election, and up to and including election day at voter service and polling centers. 

If you’re a senior who’s planning on going to college out-of-state next year but still want to vote in the 2020 election, you can still register to vote through any methods above and vote in Colorado. Or, you can register to vote and vote in the state where you attend college. Most colleges have voter registration drives leading up to the election. If not, be sure to check your state’s individual requirements for registration. Information can be found here.

3. Raise awareness about issues you’re passionate about! 

As much as some may judge “awareness” posts on social media, they’re effective. It’s hard to  deny that the Amazon is burning after clicking through the 16th Instagram story about it. Social media is a great way to call attention to something you care about. If you’re not social media savvy, simply discussing an issue with other people is a great way to start to have an impact.

4. Sign petitions! 

There’s a ton of current and relevant petitions online on change.org. You can even start one yourself! Petitions are a great way to show representatives and Congress how important an issue is and can potentially spur future action.

5. Protest an issue you care about! 

There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned protest. So grab some cardboard and Crayola markers! 

Here’s some local protests that are coming up: 

Colorado Climate Strike (Denver)

Where: Begins at Union Station, Denver; ends at the capitol

When: September 20th, 2019

Boulder Colorado Starbucks Climate Strike:

Where: Outside patio corner of Pearl and 28th 

When: September 20th, 2019, 12 p.m 

More information about the climate change movement can be found here

Women’s March (Denver)

Where: TBD

When: January 19th, 2020

As you can see, there’s not a whole lot of local protests that are up and coming. If you’re really passionate about an issue, you can organize your own, or attend one of the many protests in Washington, DC. More information about Washington, DC protests can be found here.