We know voting is important, so let's actually do it
Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
October 9, 2012
It’s election season. I know because during my Wednesday night class
the guy beside me spent most of class lamenting the fact that he wasn’t playing the drinking game that went along with the first presidential debate- if you’re voting for Obama, drink on “middle class,” if you’re voting for Romney, drink on “ObamaCare.” I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to become more educated about American politics, but it’s managed to get more interest in politics on campus than I’ve seen all year.
In the Regional Educational Attendance Area elections that took place last Tuesday, Oct. 2, there was an overall 18% voter turnout rate.
We all know that voting is important. So why aren’t we doing it?
Granted, I didn’t vote in that election because I’m registered to vote in a community that wasn’t holding REAA elections.
However, I did spend an entire day running around town trying to find an absentee-in-person voting location for the primaries in August, since I turned in my absentee ballot request one day too late. In those elections, there was an overall 25 percent voter turnout rate.
During the last presidential election, there was a 66 percent voter turn out rate in Alaska.
The larger elections tend to gather more attention and voters, when in reality it should be the other way around. Statewide and local elections tend to be won more often by smaller margins, and your vote truly counts.
In ASUAF’s spring elections last year, a measly 203 students logged in with their ID number to pick the representatives that would be controlling a half million dollar budget that directly affects the student body at UAF. If an 18 percent voter turnout record is bad for last week’s election, this is horrible.
It’s easy to forget how remarkable it is that our votes count.
Last spring, Egypt had their first ever presidential debate. I remember listening to a professor who also worked as a journalist in Amman around that time. Jordan is a monarchy with a parliament that’s elected and fired at the discretion of the king and a media that’s corralled into supporting the government. Just knowing that their neighbors were having a debate, no matter the outcome, was enough to make her tear up, she told me.
During this week’s debate, there was a quick poll done on the reactions people in other countries were having to the two candidate’s verbal sparring. According to NPR, citizens of China were barely even focusing on the debate going on between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but were spending more time looking at the picture of the constitution being shown in the background. The take away being that the words between candidates are important, but the fact that we can host presidential debates is more important.
College students can be the difference in who’s put in office this year, and, I hate to say it, but we’re often overlooked. I always wear my “I voted today” sticker with pride, and I hope to be seeing a lot them around campus come November.