By Ryan Ryu ’25
The Political Campaign Videos are back in action, here to disrupt 30 seconds of our time. Vote for this candidate; vote for that candidate. What is the importance of voting?
My Vote, My Voice
Voting is your right. Voting is more than just electing a candidate; it’s choosing the right policies and people with your best interests in mind when making decisions that will affect our community, state, and nation.
When you vote, you are playing a decisive role in issues regarding health care, immigration, equal opportunity, voting rights, infrastructure, jobs, education, social security, neighborhood safety, taxes, etc. Not voting is giving up your voice.
Every Vote Matters
You have the power to make key decisions on the quality of your life, your family’s life, and your community. Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues you care about, such as affordable housing, economic justice, environmental protection, and quality education.
While Presidential or other national elections draw significant attention, midterm and local elections typically see less voter turnout. A Portland State University study found that fewer than 15% of eligible voters turned out to vote for Mayors, Council Members, and other local offices. Low turnout means that important local issues are determined by a limited group of voters, making a single vote even more statistically meaningful.
Upcoming Midterm Elections
Every two years, midterm elections occur at the halfway point of the Presidential term. Americans vote to elect the United States House of Representatives and vote on a wide variety of local ballot measures.
During midterm elections, you may vote for your Congressperson, Senators, and Governor, depending on the year and the state you live in. With the 2022 midterm elections approaching in a couple of weeks, it is an excellent opportunity for voters who haven’t been practicing their voting rights to express their votes.
Words to the Young Voters
During a Q&A with Mr. Bart McMann, the current Director of the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy at The Frederick Gunn School, I asked why it is important for young voters to vote. He answered, “It’s important because voting is the most important right you have as a democratic citizen, and it needs to be practiced and learned. Therefore, if it’s done at a young age, it becomes a habit, and young people understand it’s their responsibility. They learn to research issues and candidates so that they can make informed decisions at the voting booth. If one does not learn to vote at a young age, one often will not vote as they grow older.”
How to Register to Vote
Registering to vote is not as complicated and time-consuming as you may think—Type vote.gov in your browser on your computer or phone. Once you are on the main page, choose your current state of residence. Then, check Voter Registration Deadlines and different registration options. There are three ways of registering and if you have trouble moving on to the next step, check out a very short guiding video for new voters which is provided on the website.
Every vote matters for any kind of election. Your voice will be represented by your votes. Vote to be a good democratic citizen. Vote to improve your community. Vote to express your rights. Vote for a better society. Vote because the government is determined by the citizens.
November 8, 2022, vote to make your voice heard by those who represent you, your community, and your country.
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”-Thomas Jefferson