The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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You should be voting during the midterm elections

Illustration by Kristine Delicana/Illustrations editor
Illustration by Kristine Delicana/Illustrations editor
Illustration by Kristine Delicana/Illustrations editor

Turnout for next week’s election won’t do well. There are just too many factors working against a high turnout and there isn’t much of a mobilization effort to get college voters out to the polls.

Historically, midterm elections have never produced the same levels of participation as presidential ones. Factors like Election Day being held on a Tuesday and electoral disproportionality are some of the reasons that are to blame in part for low turnout, especially during midterms.

One of the biggest complaints by voters (a sentiment which I personally observed through my own college experience during the 2012 elections) is that their vote doesn’t actually count – citing a discontent for the electoral college. For years, Gallup polls have shown that Americans would prefer a switch to the popular vote system from the electoral college. And in a state like California where the Democratic Party holds an overwhelming majority, it’s likely true that if your vote is not democratic then it probably has no effect.

However, one thing we forget is the electoral college doesn’t have a say in our local and state politics. So there is little reason for us not to show up for our state and local election next week.

Issues on state and local ballots have an immediate effect on our life. We give officials control over important state and local resources which, considering our drought and recovering economy, seems illogical that less than half of the registered voter population actually participated.

Last year, during the Los Angeles city elections, less than a quarter of all registered voters actually participated. Effectively, the chance to be heard and make an impact on the future of the city’s policies was omitted. When you consider how much the mayor has done in one year to target issues that affect college students and young people (i.e. his plan to dramatically increase minimum wage and his pro left and uber sentiment) it seems irrational that so few people participated.

So, why don’t we participate in these elections?

The answer is similar to why we don’t vote in general. Many people feel the parties they vote for don’t align closely to their own political views, according to the “Annual Review of Political Science.” The coalitions inside of each party disagree on key issues.

Another reason we don’t get out to vote is a lack of competitive distribution in our races. One example of a lack of competition is our race for governor. It’s a race between the incumbent governor from the majority Democrat party with a 17 to 20 point lead over his Republican challenger. By all means, not a close race.

Last year, during the mayoral race in Los Angeles, a similar lack of competition was the result of both candidates being too similar. Both Wendy Greuel and current mayor Eric Garcetti are Democrats and had similar views.

Despite these reasons for low turnout, there are still two reasons why you should make the effort to vote.

First, Congress is deeply divided and for over a year it has been difficult to make any sort of progress on either side to solve some of the issues the country faces. A year ago this month, we were in a government shutdown because Congress could not come to a compromise.

This election will change the makeup of Congress and can possibly end some of its stagnation. Of course, depending on which side of the political spectrum you are on, this change could serve against some of your own values. You might want to vote so that your opposing political party does not have full control of Congress.

Secondly, there are several measures on the ballot and lower profile positions, which play an important role in shaping our local and state political atmospheres.

The state has only recently started to overcome its debt and begin to show strong signs of growth. Along with that, we are in a very serious drought that requires a statewide effort to ensure resources are used efficiently. Currently proposition 2 is trying to tackle the issue of water conservation.

Both of these issues come up on next week’s ballot in the form of measures. So, at the very least you should participate in the election because these issues affect you directly.

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