opinion   |   oped

EDITORIAL: College students need to go vote in November

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Voting has been a part of this country since its foundation. The right to choose our political leaders is a sacred tenant that has not been broken in the the 242 years since this country was founded. 

However, young people have historically not been voting as much as other age groups. For instance, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, in 2012 only 38 percent of people ages 18 to 24 voted, compared to 69.7 percent of people ages 65 and older. Indiana had the second lowest voter turnout rate in the country at the 2014 midterms. This aversion to voting should not be present in our great university.

We, as students at a university, have greater access and opportunity to vote than most people in this country. There are polling stations right here on campus. Opportunities to register to vote have been abundant since the semester started. There is nothing stopping any person on this campus from choosing the candidate they believe is best suited to the job. 

This election season will be one of the most important in decades. Congress is more divided along party lines than it ever has been. The future will be radically different based on who has a seat come November. You should be part of shaping that future rather than watching it unfold passively and regretting it later.

It is important that the true opinion of the American people, whatever that may be, is represented in political offices. We are the future of this country, so our politicians should have the youth’s voice rather than just that of the elderly as they do now. The only way for that to happen is for you to vote.

Voting is only the beginning of the political process. Being an active participant in our democracy means interacting with elected officials as well. This nation has been far too complacent with their politicians at every level. If the government is doing something you believe to be wrong, you can let them know. Contacting politicians, signing petitions and protesting are all things you can do to let your voice heard.

But the first and most important thing a person can do in a democracy is vote. That is where it all starts, the ballot box. This country has the ability to give weight to all of the opinions of its citizens — only, however, if they go out and vote for representatives whom they believe will accurately represent them. You can help make that a reality or you can stand by as this democracy fails to function as intended.

As you go to vote, ask yourself what kind of future you want to live in and which candidate will bring forth that future for you. Whatever future is selected is one you will have to live in. Whomever this nation chooses to serve in public offices will be your representatives, so having a say in that is crucial. You would do better to be a part of it without regrets rather than bitterly resenting that you didn’t vote in the midterm elections of 2018.

Vote and encourage your friends, family and acquaintances to do the same. We are all Americans and we all deserve to enjoy our sacred right to vote for whomsoever we deem worthy for office. You deserve to help shape the future, no matter how small your contribution is. 

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. Use your registration to vote on November 6, 2018; your future depends on it.

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