With the media storm surrounding the presidential election, one could forget that other elections are taking place in November. New state senate and house seats and local offices are all on the ballot for your voting consideration. If the only informed vote you make this season is for the presidency, you’re making a classic mistake.
Brooke Schmidt, Associated Student Government president and senior Spanish major, stated that last year 633 students voted in the ASG elections. The vast majority of students did not participate. If this is indicative of our desire to involve ourselves in small and local election processes, then we are in for a big disappointment come November.
Granted, many of us are understandably uninformed of the smaller elections. Publicity for these seats is dwarfed by presidential campaigns. The clout surrounding the local elections is weak by comparison when placed against the weighty rhetoric of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Domestic gas prices, energy independence, nation-wide unemployment rates and social inequity carry with them such heavy meanings that, by comparison, a town-centered 1 percent sales tax seems minuscule.
But what we have to remember is that democracy is meant to be approached from the bottom-up. We, the constituency, are explicitly the government of the United States. We dictate policy through the election process. We have the power to impose our will on congress. We often forget how much sway we really have.
The election of a president is no light-hearted matter. We must focus our energy into making the right decision for ourselves, our families and our nation. But the responsibility must be transposed, as well, to our city officials and our school governments. These are the people that move our daily lives in particular directions. We see them every day in class or around town.
Take it upon yourself to explore the candidates up for election. Their platforms and policies, though not as readily apparent as in the presidential race, are more than likely available for your perusal. Let’s take care of our school, our town and our state first.