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WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US AND OUR VINAS TO VOTE IN THE UPCOMING U.S. ELECTION

*Disclaimer: All information stated below or for more information on each individual candidate and their stance on certain issues can be found here. And shoutout to my vina, Jeantelle, for looking over my post to make sure it was sound and unbiased.

Not to sound preachy, but if you think you’re helping by abstaining from voting, or if you think your vote holds no merit – you’re wrong. Straight up. As women, voting is more important that ever. We have a real chance to elect a candidate that stands up for what we believe in, no matter if we’re Democratic, Republican, or anything in between. Women’s health issues, maternity leave, a woman’s place in the home and in the working world – all of these (and much, much more) are issues that affect us, as women, and are extremely important. We have a right to vote for our morals, our politics, and our freedoms, and we all need to exercise that right!

There is so much going on in the political race and most of it is between the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. But there will be two other names on the ballot that are also in the running for President. These nominees are Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. The media has mainly focused on the debates featuring Clinton and Trump, leaving us wondering who the other two candidates are. Below are a few stances and plans of each candidate if they were to be elected the next President so maybe we can all make a more informed decision come Tuesday.

HILLARY CLINTON (D) / VP RUNNING MATE TIME KAINE (D)

(Via MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA)

Clinton represents the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is known for being more liberal (“left-winged”), meaning they generally support reforms and change in tradition, such as same-sex marriage, the right for women to get proper contraception regardless of their income, or the respect and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Economy: If elected, Clinton has a 5-point plan to improve the economy. Her plan includes: eliminating the cost of college and relieving current college debts, fighting for equal pay and paid leave, and making sure that corporations, Wall Street, and the 1% pay their fair share in taxes.

Education: Clinton’s plan includes making sure public schools (K-12) are open and safe, rebuilding healthy and safe school buildings (as students will reside in these environments for a long period of time), and elevating the profession of teaching. She plans on introducing a new student loan reform policy to reduce the debt of college graduates.

Gun Control: In the recent debate, Clinton advocated for closing loopholes that allow people to attain guns online or through gun shows. She still wants to respect the NRA and hunters’ rights to carry, but wants to implement guidelines for everyone to follow.

Health: Clinton is a strong advocate for the Affordable Care Act, but she wants to improve it by deducting costs and making it more affordable. She wants to implement stronger mental health care and physical health care systems.

Immigration: Clinton is very passionate about tackling immigration reform. She wants to make sure immigrants are being checked fairly and equally. She also wants to give refugees a fair chance to state their claims for why we should host them in the United States. She believes in detaining/deporting those who pose a violent threat to the United States.

Military/Foreign Defense: Clinton has voiced her concern for taking care of our country’s veterans and their families.

DONALD TRUMP (R) / VP RUNNING MATE: MIKE PENCE (R)

Via Taylor Hill/WireImage; Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Trump represents the Republican Party. The Republican Party is known for being more conservative (“right-winged”), meaning they would rather stick with traditional and generally oppose major economic and social changes that lean Liberal. They generally oppose abortions and same sex marriage based on religious or moral beliefs, and usually prefer more fiscally conservative economic policies.

Economy: Trump wants to eliminate federal income tax for individuals earning less than $25,000 and couples earning less than $50,000. He has proposed a tax deduction for childcare expenses.

Education: Trump wants to include those left behind and allow them to be part of the American Dream. He believes education should be under state jurisdiction and not controlled by federal government.

Gun Control: Trump is pro-gun rights and has been endorsed by the NRA. He wants to end gun-free zones in schools and military bases because he believes gun-free zones are baiting criminals.

Health: Trump aims to repeal Obamacare and have a more “free market principle” approach to health care. If elected, he would institute a full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals.

Immigration: On day one of his presidency, Trump plans on removing “criminal aliens.” He wants to implement an impenetrable physical wall that Mexico will pay for, and ensure that the deportee’s origin country is forced to take them back.

Military/Foreign Defense: Trump wants to create mental health division for military/veterans. He plans on increasing military spending to declare war on ISIS and send U.S. troops to the Middle East.

JILL STEIN (G) / VP RUNNING MATE: AJAMU BARAKA (G)

Via Breitbart

Stein represents the Green Party, which values being environmentally friendly, having equality between all races and genders, and instilling peace within the nation.

Economy: Stein proposes to increase taxes on the wealthy and cut military spending costs by half.

Education: Stein advocates for free higher public education. She believes education should still take place by instructor and not solely by computer. However, her plans for the Federal Reserve to cancel student debts and not collect from them have not been well received or found conclusive to provide a substantial resolution.

Gun Control: Stein proposes to ban and regulate assault weapons in order to keep them out of the hands of individuals with mental illness. She also wants to strip gun manufacturers’ immunity so that sellers would be accountable for selling weapons to those who are not fit to carry.

Health: She is in favor of the current Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) system

Immigration: Stein advocates for creating a “welcoming path” for immigrants to receive citizenship.

Military/Foreign Defense: Stein aims to close military bases overseas and make the National Guard our main defense.

GARY JOHNSON (L) / VP RUNNING MATE: WILLIAM WELD (L)

Via flickr

Johnson represents the Libertarian Party. This political party promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, peace, fair trade, and the abolition of the welfare state.

Economy: Johnson proposes to amend the U.S. Constitution to have an annual balanced budget report. He denounces earmarks (approved funds for specific projects or that specifies exemptions from taxes or mandated fees). Additionally, he supports the FairTax reform proposal that could be read about here.

Education: Johnson wants to eliminate the Department of Education, as he believes the educational decisions made on behalf of children and young adults should be made “closer to home” – under state and local governments.

Gun Control: Johnson rejects the idea of restricting gun sales and advocates for an individual’s right to obtain a concealed weapon regardless of governmental control. He believes an individual owning a gun is safer as a way of defense and would make others think twice before attacking.

Health: Johnson believes the current costs for health care are “out of control” and that health care should revert to being privately owned and managed.

Immigration: Johnson would create a more efficient system of permitting work visas, providing proof of employment, and implementing better background checks and ways for non-citizens to pay proper taxes.

Military/Foreign Defense: Johnson only believes in engaging in military intervention and war when absolutely necessary. He believes in deep deliberation and debate between himself and Congress when discussing military intervention. His foreign policy includes repairing relationships with U.S. allies.

A lot of people believe that their one vote doesn’t matter, but your one vote does matter. Those who don’t vote will affect the outcome of who will be our next President of the United States of America for the next four years. Whoever wins this November will serve our country and make our decisions. Along with their election, we’ll also be electing the Vice President of the United States; this person would act as the President’s right hand and would be the next in line to be President if anything were to happen to the current elected President before their four-year term is up.

For more information on how to vote in your area- whether in your home state, away at college, or traveling abroad- here are ways that you can still vote and make your vote count. Just searching “how to vote” in the Google search engine will generate resources for you to find instructions based on your state. It also informs you how to vote in person or by mail, requirements for voting, when/where to vote, sample ballots, and even how to register. So grab your friends, your coworkers, and your family members and vote by 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 8th.

But if you need more information on how to vote the links below should help:

http://www.vote411.org

https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote

Will you be exercising your right to vote in this election? Tell us in the comments! 

(Feature image via @allijpal)

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