No mentality is more dangerous to democracy than the misconception a single vote does not matter. Even more egregious is the lack of faith in a powerful voting block of educated young citizens eager to see change in their communities and the nation at large.
Voting among the Texas State student body leaves a lot to be desired. According to Dean of Students Margarita Arellano, only about one in four undergraduate upperclassmen at the university vote. Even less, only 10 percent of freshmen are registered to vote.
With the midterms closing in, now is the time for college students to remember how much power they have at the ballot box. An active engagement in higher education and an above average degree of social stimulation make America’s newest voters a valuable asset in every election.
Despite not having a presidential election on this year’s ballot, the 2018 midterms are still just as important for civic engagement. Future legislation will be shaped by the representatives, senators, city council members, mayors, county and state officials and governors elected this November. College students should exercise their say in who will get this authority because young people are impacted by the law and will live with the consequences the longest.
Older voters will go to the polls for their best interests. As the largest active voting demographic, older Americans have weaponized their civic duty to impact local, state and federal government. Most senior voters know this and will do it for the rest of their lives. But as Baby Boomers pass away, their numbers will be replaced by young people. These new voters have no reason not to use the power of the ballot and exude the same energy when making their voices heard.
College students are more adept with technology and social media and can use these tools to their advantage to increase voter turnout. These outlets can also be used to hear stories and testimony from different walks of life we would be unable to hear otherwise. In turn, this worldly approach makes for a more sympathetic voter demographic, which propagates essential legislative action for all Americans.
When casting a ballot, do it for the America you would like to see. Do it for the laws you would like to see enacted and the laws you would like to see amended. Do it for the tone you would like to see carried by the governing bodies of the land. Do it for the future examples of what makes this country great for the benefit of all.
Today is the day to keep campaigning, advocating, protesting, demonstrating, educating and dialoguing and when the time comes, keep that same energy and vote.
Young voters should not wait ten years to decide that contemporary issues are important to them. When voting, you are not just setting the standard for the present; You are also helping to craft the laws that will remain on the books for years to come. No election is trivial enough to justify the largest potential voting demographic sitting these midterms out.
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9. Early voting starts Oct. 22 and ends Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.