Election season is right around the corner. One of the most important presidential elections is coming up in 2020. There has been a resurgence of changing the landscape of politics in the United States. Democratic politicians have begun to announce their bids for the presidency. There are about 14 candidates that have announced campaigns. Compared to other years, this is a very crowded Democratic race. For young voters, this can be quite overwhelming considering this election will affect young Americans. It's important as college students that we are first registered to vote! We need to be informed voters to make the best decisions for our future. Here are some steps you can take to educate yourself and easily prepare for the Democratic presidential primaries.

1. Google it!

 It's easy to find out what candidates are running and what their platform is. As long as you have access to some device, it's possible. These candidates have chosen platforms on issues such as climate change, inequality and free college education. Having a broad knowledge of the candidates is a great place to start. Any news sites such as CNN, Politico or The New York Times are excellent sources.  

2. Discover what's important to you.

Ask yourself what issues are most important to you? We all have different experiences and because of that, different concerns. Climate change, education and immigration are some of the many issues that face the United States and each candidate can address them differently. You don't have to make an immediate decision on which candidate aligns with your views, but it is good to understand what you want from your future president. 

3. Like it, tweet it and retweet it. 

Social media has become a big part of politics. Many candidates are active on platforms like Twitter. And while some may use it in questionable manners, others use it to interact with their base and potential voters. Follow some of the candidates on their campaign trail and stay up to date on their latest policies. 

4. Visit campaign websites. 

Most of the time, candidates have websites dedicated to themselves and their work. This is one of the best ways to see directly what candidates are all about. Take some time to explore their site. I suggest visiting pages about their policies and read the candidate's biography. It's really important to have an understanding of who these candidates are as people. This is also a great resource to find out about events and potentially volunteer for their campaign. 

5. Explore your options. 

While 14 candidates is a lot, some of them are probably familiar faces whether or not you follow politics consistently. Kamala Harris is a senator from California and former Attorney General of the state. You might remember her for her resistance to the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont who is running for the second time. He is incredibly well known among young Americans and made it to the last two nominees for Democratic presidential nominee. Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts who was the first to announce her bid for the presidency. Warren has been very vocal about her intentions to run for president. These are just a few of the candidates and hopefully, this interests you to do your own research on them. 

6. Do your research.

Politics can be a tough area to navigate, especially for new voters. There are all types of sources out there and it's easy to get misinformation. Make sure you are looking at credible news sources that offer a lot of information on the upcoming campaign. How these news sources talk about candidates is where you look for any red flags. You want news sources to provide overviews and in-depth analyzations of candidates and campaigns. It's important to remember that these candidates are not perfect and may have certain policies you don't agree with. BBC and The New York Times are great news sources to look to for a complete picture of the 2020 campaigns.  

7. Register to vote!

Lastly, if you haven't registered to vote, you still have time to do it. Voting is such an important power that we have that not everyone in the United States gets to experience. Registering can literally take a few minutes and allows you to take part in politics. As college students, many policies that go through Capitol Hill take a toll on what we have access to. Student loans, tuition and accessibility to health services are all on the line for students around the country. And even more, as young Americans, our future is deeply affected by who sits in the White House. I encourage you to be a little less intimidated by the elections and be confident in your decisions this upcoming campaign season. 

Take these tips and use them to research candidates to become an informed voter. An informed voter is the only acceptable voter. Being educated in candidates and their topics will help you understand the upcoming campaigns. The choices made in the White House have immense effects on all aspects of young people. We have a voice in this country and we have to use it. We are in an important moment in history where young people are fighting for their rights. Even if none of these candidates spark joy for you, at least you know this information so you can have conversations with your peers. It's important that we educate each other and hold each other accountable for things like registering to vote. 

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