Reregistering to vote important for active citizenship

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With nearly a month of classes under our belts, most students are settled back into their Manhattan lifestyles. Unfortunately, there is one thing many students have forgotten to do: reregister to vote.

Every student should register to vote in Manhattan because there are many decisions being made on the local level that affect K-State students.

This past semester, there have already been two city ordinances that have been passed affecting us as K-State students: mandatory rental inspections and Sunday liquor sales. The involvement of students within the election of our city commissioners has a large impact on the decisions that are made, especially if we elect candidates who have experience with K-State students, like Commissioners Jim Sherow and Jayme Morris-Hardeman.

If making a difference within your local community is not enough for you, you should recognize the simplicity of registering to vote here versus dealing with absentee ballots. It is significantly easier to go and vote on election day than filling out an absentee ballot.

Remembering to order your absentee ballot several weeks before election day, and then sending your ballot back to your local election officials requires a great deal of planning. Plans often fall through with busy student schedules.

Compare that to the planning required to simply vote on election day, when you are guaranteed to be reminded by at least one organization on campus.

Even if you do not want to register to vote in Manhattan, I would still encourage you to make sure you are registered to vote. I always find it discouraging that there are citizens who believe their votes do not make a difference.

This argument could not be more wrong. Especially in local elections, a vote can decide if one city commissioner is elected over another. In the 2007 election, Sherow won his seat literally by a coin toss because the vote ended in a tie between him and Morris-Hardeman.

In larger communities, voting and being registered to vote is still extremely important. Often, people are discouraged and disillusioned that their votes do not matter because someone from the opposite party was elected the year before.

If, as a community, more people register and physically go out to vote, then the politicians will be forced to pay attention to that community in order to be re-elected.

There are also a few myths about voter registration that must be debunked.

While registering voters during the 2008 elections, I was often presented with the fear that if citizens were to register then they would be more likely to get jury duty. This is at best laughable. As long as you have either an ID card or a driver’s license, you are already in the pool for jury duty.

I also was presented with the fear that if you register to vote then your identity would be stolen. I can understand that fear, especially with the ACORN incidents; however, that is a rarity with voter registration. Most of the people who are registering voters have been trained and are very reliable citizens.

Though, regardless of your political affiliation, you should re-register to vote here in the city of Manhattan.

-Molly McGuire is a sophomore in political science and speech. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.
 

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