Popular participation is essential to American Democracy, and this participation comes in no more visible form than voting.
We have elections at all levels of government, from president all the way down to school board. While national races certainly garner more attention, state and local ones are just as important.
As college students, we have a unique perspective on many issues. We are educated and able to step back from our upbringings and look at the world undeterred.
And yet voter turnout among 18- to 24-year olds is historically the lowest.
Perhaps we are too busy, or too lazy. Or maybe we refuse to participate in a system that fails to work for us.
There is an old saying we have all surely heard: “If you don’t vote then you can’t complain.” Well, we are not voting.
The 2016 election is unique. The Democrats and Republicans have nominated two of the most disliked and distrusted candidates for president.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump threaten their respective party’s relevance at the national level, and have driven many to support otherwise ignored third party candidates. New communities of voters have emerged, all upset with the course of the nation.
While these developments will have implication lasting far beyond Nov. 8, it is important to keep in mind that the presidential election is not the only election on the ballot.
In Ohio there are numerous races for the U.S. house of representatives, as well as a senatorial race between incumbent Rob Portman (Rep), and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland (Dem). There are also many races for seats in the Ohio General Assembly.
In Franklin County, there are races for county prosecutor, treasurer, clerk of courts, and several others. The Central Ohio Transit Authority also has a ballot initiative to renew its 10-year sales tax levy.
Even if you are disillusioned by the presidential race, there are important issues on the line all down the ballot. There is no excuse for not participating in this election.
Make your voice heard on Nov. 8, or take advantage of absentee and early voting. Check your board of elections website now to figure the most convenient way for you to vote. Read up on the candidates and their platforms and get out to the polls.