Millennials are becoming one of the largest demographics in the U.S. Our votes help determine the future of this great nation.

Your attention is a valuable commodity and everyone is vying for a piece of it. Addictive Buzzfeed videos and viral vines and memorable advertising campaigns and even GenTwenty are all begging for you to stop what you’re doing and appreciate what they have to offer. Some of it’s worthwhile, some is lousy clickbait, and it’s up to you to decide the difference.

Politics can seem like more of the same, in that regard. Suddenly, political ads are being shoved in our faces. It also gets irritating to be pandered to (Hillary, it’s time to stop with the emojis now), and it’s easy to lose patience when politicians seem so out of touch. Whether you’re more of a donkey-type or elephant-type, it feels like politicians just don’t understand what millennials want or who we are. We can see right through the rehearsed speeches and painted-on smiles for the press camera. We recognize that the mundane details that talking heads drone on about are meaningless drivel. It’s enough already.

Despite all that, you don’t have much room to complain about politics if you don’t take the opportunity to participate.

It’s pretty fantastic that we have the right to vote, considering this is a right many people around the world are still fighting for. In the United States, white women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920 and — even worse — black women weren’t able to freely exercise their right to vote until the 1960s. Even without that guilt trip of an argument (sorry about that), it’s still important to use your chance to be heard, even if you feel like your one measly vote won’t make a difference.

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A quick aside about that: statistically speaking, your vote does not really count in the sense that it will make a difference in the outcome. Exactly how much your vote “counts” depends on where you live because of how the electoral college works. No one is arguing that you should vote because your specific vote is important, but because of the aggregate effect if many people agree to vote. Just a thought. Now back to the primaries.

When you think about presidential campaigns, the imaginary finish line you picture in your mind is probably the general election. That’s the main event, the big shebang. However, there is another so-called finish line for many candidates (all but two, to be exact), and that finish line is arguably just as important as the general election because it decides who even has a chance at the real finish line.

The primaries have much lower participation rates than the general election, and it’s not too hard to understand why on an intuitive level. The actual reasons are complex and not fully understood, but they have something to do with it seeming less important because the end result is a candidate rather than a president. Also, they are held on different days for each state, so as a result, the primaries are hyped up less in the media.

The primaries are a totally different animal than the general election. In fact, some states have caucuses rather than primaries (the difference is that primaries are state government run while caucuses are run by the state parties). Whichever kind your state has, they are staggered around early-to-mid election year.

Many of these reasons to vote in the primary can be extended to a general election, but I would argue that it’s even more important to think about during the primaries because so few people are convinced to vote.

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Don’t believe me? Here are 5 reasons why millennials need to vote in the primaries:

1. First, millennials are key in this election.

We have a unique perspective, a lot of education behind us, and we are a pretty big section of the population, so it is crucial that our voices be heard. Some may say we don’t believe in voting and I kind of see why we wouldn’t (re: the above paragraph about how little each vote counts), but I don’t agree with it.

Not all millennials have the same views, but we do deal with many of the same problems and concerns. Our opinions about those concerns ought to be reflected in the primaries, not just the concerns of older generations. The only way they will be reflected is if enough of us suck it up and vote. Even if we don’t totally believe in it.

2. Secondly, hypocrites freaking suck.

Just about everyone has some cross to bear with the way politics work. I personally have some strong feelings about campaign finance. But what right do I have to vent about our current policies if I don’t a) stay informed about the issues and b) take any chance I get to vote according to my beliefs. True, no one will ask to see my “I Voted” sticker next time I discuss politics, but deep down I would know that I’m a hypocrite and it would feel pretty crappy.

3. Third, you have zero, zip, zilch excuses not to vote.

You’re sunning on a beach in Mykonos, Greece for spring break, busy stressing over midterms, or working a double shift at the coffee shop? No excuse, no excuse, and no excuse. Early and absentee voting exist just for these reasons. Okay, the one excuse might be if you are in a coma. That’s the one time you get a pass on this.

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4. Fourth, your vote technically counts more in the primaries because fewer people are at the polls.

If you’re like me and get hung up on the insignificance of your puny little vote, then let this motivate you to prioritize the primaries if no other reason stirs you to action.

5. Lastly, millennials are next up to bat.

By that, I mean that we will be in charge in just a few short decades. Think about it: we’re only a handful of presidencies away from having a millennial in the White House. Maybe this isn’t so much a reason to vote as it is something to make you think about your place in this democracy.

Realizing that my input matters and that my peers and I (including you) will be responsible for the next few decades of this country’s decision-making helps me appreciate these civic responsibilities a lot more.

You can’t vote in the primaries without knowing when yours are happening, so luckily there are many sources for finding out this information. One of my favorites is the New York Times 2016 Primary Calendar because they manage to make the list look pretty and it turns into a results page as the primaries go on.

They go from February to June, so plan ahead to make sure you can make it to the polls or send in your vote early or remotely. Happy voting!