Voting is Important

Hope Austin

Ok, be honest. Did you vote in the midterm elections? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t, because you’re in the majority.

Voter turnout estimates place Missouri and Kansas at about 31 and 42 percent of eligible voters, respectively. Nationwide, turnout is estimated to be at about 36 percent. The New York Times called it “The Worst Voter Turnout in 72 Years.”

Yikes.

During elections, it’s common to hear people who wonder “Why should I vote? It’s not like anything changes.”

And to those people, I would suggest voting in a local election before knocking the entire process.

I would also point out how, in Kansas’s most recent governor race, incumbent Brownback beat his opponent by a margin of only 3 percent. Votes can make a big difference.

Voting is important, especially at the local level. If you want to see change, you have to start at the bottom. Do not be fooled into thinking that your vote does not matter.

Of course, this is not just about making sure that people vote. It is also about making sure that people are able to vote.

We’re busy people. Many of us are students who are at least working one job. Finding the time to vote is hard when you’re balancing school and work. Who has the time to worry about midterm elections when there are academic midterms to study for?

This is where voting becomes a joint effort.

Employers and institutions should be doing more to encourage voting. This might mean allowing employees and students leniency on Election Day, or even cancelling school/work altogether. However we get there, the end result should be the same — getting people to the polls.

Institutions are not the only problem. Voters also have to contend with tighter restrictions on voting as well. Laws that require picture IDs or birth certificates to register have prevented many people from being able to cast their votes.

Now is not the time to be apathetic. Now, more than ever, your vote matters.

I’ll be honest, I believe that there are a lot of problems with how votes are counted, but that shouldn’t mean you shouldn’t vote. If you genuinely believe that we need a revolution or some kind of system overhaul, great. But here’s the thing: Change takes time.

In the meantime, be sure to read up on the next local election, mark your calendar and vote.