Labor Day marks the traditional beginning to the electoral year, so for better or for worse, the political season is upon us. Typically in a midterm election cycle such as this, voter turn out is much lower than it is during presidential election years (rarely more than one-third of potential voters cast ballots in these off-year polls). For college students, who are already a politically apathetic bunch, these races rarely make the radar screen – civic duty is easily droned out by homework, parties, classes and friends in years without easily-identifiable candidates or issues.
But off-year elections, especially midterm elections, are extremely important. This year over 30 gubernatorial positions, 33 Senate seats and the entire House of Representatives are up for election, and given the smaller turnout, even a few votes can dramatically change (or reinforce) the nation’s political order. So anyone with an interest in a particular issue, or who supports one party or another, should look to this year’s election even more closely than he or she would a presidential race, for this year there’s actually a chance to make a real impact.
Regardless of who you would vote for, it’s important just to vote. A group that doesn’t vote is a group that is invisible to our nation’s leaders, a group that will be overlooked when the ramifications of acts and laws are considered. If college students want a government that is more responsive to their positions, they need to become active in the process.
But before you can become active, you need to make sure you’re registered. Most states allow you to register when updating your driver’s license or by mail up to 30 days before the election. Some states allow you to register closer to the date of voting. For a complete list of registration requirements for all 50 states, check the League of Women Voters’ website at:
Because regardless of our age, we all have to live with the government that’s about to be elected, so why not at least have a voice in the matter?