Voting important for everyone at university, local levels

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There have been a slew of debates in the run up for the primary election recently on the national stage. And locally, most political topics are centered on downtown development. Now according to “everyone,” I just surprised a great many people. I just surprised many because the prevailing idea is that college students don’t vote and don’t care. So not only have I gained this hidden knowledge, I have now shared it as well.

I’m usually not that up to date though, so I, too, would have to plead guilty to this axiom. When I vote, it’s because my carpool stops by our polling center on the way to school. When I know of the individual candidates, it’s because they have just put foot to mouth for all of our benefits.

Proof of lack of college-aged voting: Proposition 19 in California. How much did our age group care to vote that up after signing the petitions? Not much at all in fact. Couldn’t even deliver the punch line of our own joke.

Recently though, I watched C-Span on a dare. And the biggest thing that struck me was everyone’s favorite catchphrase. After arguing one’s points, the big line was “Prosperity for our children, and our child’s children.” Considering the average age of senators and representatives, wouldn’t one realize that they are talking about us?

Interested in others’ views on voting, I asked someone. Elizabeth Francis, sophomore in secondary education, answered those questions. While on the subject of local government, we actually talked more about student government. Student government, remember? Everyone still thinks it’s a popularity contest just like in high school.

On that note, Francis said, “The whole concept of student government makes sense considering students make up the majority of the population on campus so students should participate because they will be affected the most.” Not to mention, our student government can do more than take Frisbees away.

In the middle of the interview, I thought of the big question most people consider concerning voting. Does one vote count?

“One vote can get lost in the tally, but if everyone subscribed to the same view and then abstained from voting then representative governance would be rendered useless,” Francis said.

And those seem to be the most important issues when it comes to this zombie-like constituency. Your one vote may not be statistically significant, but your opinion and your civic enthusiasm are.

Here is something that would be cool for some people to try. The next time that the subject of voting comes up in a coffee shop, a restaurant, or waiting for class to start, instead of having another two-sentence conversation on the subject that ends with “I don’t vote,” think of something to say other than that. Think of something like “I don’t like people who cut support of important programs to fund stupid projects,” or “Why does the city want to drive the hot dog vendor out of business when people need jobs and I really like a hot dog with everything for lunch.” Like voting, this would only really work if there is some buy-in, but the real fun is in how inventive one makes their declaration.

In summation, people should vote more. Some of us have really nice ideas about doing nothing while others prefer to do what they know. It is hoped that one belonging to the no-action camp would not feel as this is an affront to one’s own view on voting. Voting, after all, is a right and not using it could be a very strong show of a desire for better candidates. It is just that not voting also gives one no right to complain about who does win or what bills are passed because you have plainly said you don’t care.

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