The Michigan Times

Why students should consider voting

Makenzie Schroeder

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With the presidential election right around the corner, it is important for students to realize just how crucial voting is.

As a vital feature of the United States’ representative democracy, voting is a way for citizens to decide who will be put into public office. Expressing their political preference is a way to help keep democracy alive and the voters in charge, not to mention it will help students learn about how democracy functions.

Although there is consistently a lower voter turnout for people aged 18 through 24, they should consider voting due to their ability to be high-stakes voters.

Since young people have the ability to spend so much time in contact with the political system, they have the ability to shape representatives to exactly what they want.

This will allow their opinion to be heard and properly utilized throughout policy making – not just the groups expected to vote – the older, wealthier, and partisan population.

According to Dr. Peggy Kahn, a professor in the political science department, within recent years, there has been a “disturbing round of voter repression” expressed through numerous laws and regulations.

“6.1 million citizens cannot vote due to a felony conviction, and most of the disenfranchised have served their sentences and are members of communities. All these restrictions tend to exclude more disadvantaged groups in the U.S.–minority voters, low-income voters–distorting what is supposed to be a one-person, one-vote principle of representative democracy,” said Dr. Kahn.

Since these citizens cannot vote on how the government should operate, that leaves only one group left who can shed some new light on how the government should be ran – the younger population.

Whether dealing with an issue regarding foreign policy or priorities of public budgets, young people’s stances will not be heard or dealt with if they do not vote.

Through a higher voter turnout, politicians will be forced to listen to all public opinion, facing a huge population to please, not just select groups anymore.

Madison Beall, a sophomore majoring in elementary education, believes that voting should not be “blown-off” by students like herself.

“I am voting because whoever is nominated now will greatly impact my future as a United States citizen, along with who runs as a future candidate,” said Beall. “I want my opinion as a millennial to be taken into consideration by all public officials, and if I do not vote, it won’t be.”

Although the voter registration deadline in Michigan has passed, those who have registered are able to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8 anytime between 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Voters need to bring a photo I.D. with them to the polls, but if they do not have one, they may sign an affidavit and still cast their ballot.

First-time voters who registered by mail have to vote in person, but others can apply for an absentee ballot before Saturday, Nov. 5.

Marilynne Robinson, a novelist and essayist, once said in her essay “Imagination and Community,” that “there are excitements that come with abandoning . . . moderation and reasonableness. . . [We have turned] debate or controversy increasingly into a form of tribal warfare, harming the national community and risking always greater harm. I think it is reasonable to wonder whether democracy can survive in this atmosphere. Democracy, in its essence and genius, is imaginative love for and identification with a community with which, much of the time and in many ways, one may be in profound disagreement.”

So, even if apprehensive about voting, show up to the polls and prove to not only oneself, but to politicians that the government must and will be held accountable, that this democracy will survive, that the voters will take charge, and prove who is really in control – the constituents.

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Why students should consider voting