By Alison Stanton

According to Youth Changing the World, more than 8 million teens will turn 18 in 2018 prior to November’s Election Day, and 14 million more will celebrate their 18th birthdays by November, 2020.

That is a whopping 22 million young adults who will be of voting age and can head to the polls and cast their votes for President and other offices.

If history is any indication, teens might need some encouragement to register and vote. Statistics show that only around 47 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds were registered to vote in 2016.

Getting registered is super easy

Here in Arizona, notes the National Conference of State Legislatures, there actually isn’t a specific age for voting registration. Even if you are 17, you can register to vote as long as you will turn 18 by the next election.  You can register at the MVD when you get your driver’s permit or license, or you can register online by following the link in this ADOT article.

Top reasons to get out and vote

While some newly-minted 18-year-olds may think that their vote doesn’t matter, this is not the case. The Arizona Republic recently ran an article about how two local city council races came down to 11 votes separating the candidates. If you and a bunch of your friends feel your votes don’t matter and head to the mall instead of the polls, the candidates you were intending to vote for might end up losing—literally! How weird is that?

Your vote matters!

As The Odyssey Online notes, another reason teens should register and vote is because, simply put—you are the future. Your voice matters. When you vote, you get to express your own opinion—not your mom’s or your dad’s or your BFF’s—about who you think should be in office.

Also, the people who win in the next election will be in office for at least four years or maybe even eight. You might feel like you are only 18 years old and that elected officials may not change your life one way or another, but what if you are 26 and newly-married with a baby on the way? Do you want your newborn to enter into a country that is run by someone you cannot stand?  At least if you vote when you are 18, you will have your say.

So please, read up on the candidates, get to know the different issues and vote. It’s fun, it’s easy and you get a cool “I voted!” sticker at the end. It is well worth the time and effort.