It’s that time of year again. The air is crisp, everything is pumpkin flavored and it’s time for you to start thinking about your plans to vote in the midterm elections.
Midterm election turnout has been consistently much lower than turnout during presidential election years. Most people don’t get as passionate about voting for their state’s Comptroller or Judge of Probate. In fact, most people probably have no idea who those people are or what they are doing. People are just glad there is someone out there comptroll-ing, so they don’t ever have to figure out what that means. But just because the midterms may not seem as interesting or chaotic as the presidential election years doesn’t mean they aren’t wildly important.
Young people (yes, I’m looking at you Stags,) are consistently less likely to vote than other age groups. According to a Pew Research Poll, in the 2018 midterms adults ages 18-29 made up only 11% of voters, a smaller share of voters than any other age group. In comparison, we were 30% of non-voters. We wonder why it seems like everyone in control of Congress is over the legal retirement age, well maybe it’s because people aged 65+ made up the greatest percentage of voters in 2018.
It may be hard for you to feel like your vote is really making a difference. The media loves to hyper-fixate on the House of Representatives and Senate races, while also fixating on how neither of them ever gets anything done. It’s easy to be frustrated with national politics. But your vote still matters. Which party ends up controlling the House and Senate could determine what policies on essential issues like climate change look like for years to come.
If that’s not good enough, let’s take it down to the state level. The recent Supreme Court ruling means that individual states now set policies on reproductive rights. If this is an issue you feel strongly about, then the policy positions of your State Senators and Representatives matter now more than ever. States also have a hand in shaping election policy.
If you’re from Connecticut there is a statewide ballot initiative to decide whether or not to amend the State Constitution to provide early voting. If the events of the election day in 2020 made you nervous about what is going to happen in 2024, now is the time to do something about that.
Still not convinced? Let’s take it down to the local level. The town of Fairfield has a ballot initiative proposing reforms to the town charter that will change everything from Board of Education elections to the responsibilities of the public library director. My hometown is currently voting on whether or not to get rid of our Board of Finance. Local government is the body whose decisions will likely impact your day-to-day lives, even if you don’t realize it.
Voting is not only important when we are electing a President. In fact, it might be even more important when we are not. Your state and local elections will likely have a much greater impact on you individually, and even though they might be less flashy and much more technical they are worth the effort.
Go to Vote.org now in order to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, locate your polling place or access tons of other voting resources. Ballotpedia offers a Sample Ballot Finder tool that can show you all the candidates and ballot measures so you know what to expect on election day. Come on Stags, let’s get out and vote!