Editorial: Your vote counts

Editorial: ed·i·to·ri·al
[ed-i-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-] noun:
An article that represents the official viewpoint
of a newspaper on a topic of public interest.

You made the decision to further your education. You made the decision on where you wanted to further your education. You have, or will, spend a considerable amount of time flexing your muscles, “finding yourself,” and moving on to the next stage of your life, utilizing your education to advance in your career field. But what if we told you bettering yourself wasn’t the only thing you could do while you were in college?

Millennials, people born 1980 and later, make up a large portion of colleges, are 44 million voters and have the largest diversity, according to Rock the Vote. Forty-four million people can change the way politics is run, but not if we don’t vote.

What power! When we vote, we have the power to change the way government is run. But voting is something that college students often overlook. This generation specifically has reportedly shown signs of apathy, either because they don’t feel like they’re voice is being heard, or because they don’t feel like they can make a difference. But time and time again, elections have proven that even a single vote can be the factor that determines an outcome.
And people tend to forget that we’re not just voting for a new president; we’re also voting for local issues. In local political races, issues can come down to a few votes.

Andrea Lea, Arkansas State Auditor, said she won her first race by 50 votes. The first time medical marijuana was on the Arkansas State ballot it lost by 3 percent or 30,000 votes, according to Ballotpedia. In 2014, the vote to keep prohibition was won by 6 percent allowing each county to decide about whether or not to sell alcohol instead of it being at the state level, according to govering.com.

These issues will continue to come up, and as a considerable minority in the voting population, these are things we can be speaking out on. But just 50 years ago, this wouldn’t have been the case; young people didn’t get the right to vote until 1971, when the 26 amendment passed, allowing 18 year olds to vote. This allowed us to have their voices and ideas on how to shape the future of our country heard. We, as 18- 29 year olds, are the smallest percentage-voting group, with only 16 percent voting in the last election. This 16 percent is of those registered to vote and this age group has the smallest number of registered voters according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

We need to register to vote and then vote.

So be educated in your voting. We are college students after all, but ultimately voters.

Vote because we have the right. Vote to be heard. Vote to make an impact on your world. Vote so we have a voice.