As a nation, we are facing some of the lowest voter turnout in history.

The numbers are low, but “why does it matter?” you might be thinking.

Truth be told, it didn’t matter to me for a long time. I used to passively pay attention to what was going on, watching and keeping up with the news. I felt a sense of accomplishment by knowing what the issues were, but I did nothing with the information I was gaining. During the 2012 Presidential election, I started to take notice because I was disturbed by how divisive and disheartening national politics were becoming. I realized that the stakes were higher, that elections can affect me greatly, as well as my family, my friends, and the future of our country. That is when I realized that people had to be involved in pushing toward collaboration and positive change if we wanted to improve outcomes and be able to work together.

I’ve begun paying more attention to the issues and seeking to find ways to use my knowledge – and not just on a national level. In many ways, the most important elections are local ones. Our votes not only have more power in local elections, but local elections can also affect us more directly. Regardless of your political ideology, we should all agree that our representatives should be just that – our representatives, the representatives of the people. I, personally, started looking to local politics because I saw people more committed to working together to actually build better communities. I got excited about the idea that people from different backgrounds and viewpoints could come together to make decisions that would improve the quality of life for everyone.

We are all making history happen every day – whether it’s good history or bad history. But it’s up to us. One thing is for sure – nothing will change if we don’t do anything about it.