Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


The Importance of Voting

default article imageElection Day is Nov. 6, and the University has already begun getting students registered to vote with its nonpartisan “Rock the Vote” campaign, hosted by the Political Science Club on campus. As the 2018 Midterm Elections approach, The Outlook has been talking about the importance of voting, and getting involved in all levels of active citizenship. 

All of the Editors are registered to vote, except for one, who said: “I do believe that voting is important; however, politics is something that I do not pay attention to, and something I am not educated on, at my own choice.”

Evidently, these doubts are not uncommon amongst voters. Whether it be because they feel uninformed on the issues or because they are not confident in the candidates, nearly 43 percent of eligible voters abstain from voting, according to the U.S. Elections Project. 

As Americans, we are granted the right and the immense responsibility of electing others to represent us at all levels of government, from local school boards and state assemblies to the United States Congress and the presidency.

“It is important to vote because it is your way for your voice to be heard in decisions that will affect you,” one Editor said. “I am a firm believer in the idea that your one vote counts.”

“As a woman, it is particularly important to me, since we went without the right to vote for so long,” another Editor said. “The day when I registered to vote, I felt like I wasn’t just doing it for myself, but for every woman who fought for that right before me.” 

However, despite the importance of our own vote, many Americans still feel that their voice does not count at the ballot. Partisanship plays a large role in the disincentive to vote. Many constituents are represented by a politician who does not share the same political affiliation as they do; and many voters live in districts that vote overwhelmingly for a specific party. “It is important to vote, but I can understand why people feel discouraged,” one Editor said. 

“When my town elected an all Democratic council for the first time in decades, I thought I made a difference. However, when I vote against Congressman Smith and see that he still wins by 70 percent, I feel my vote is wasted,” the Editor continued.

Another Editor suggested that one should always vote, despite the odds which they are voting against. “In American democracy, we value our ability to choose who is in office; it allows us to have a say in what happens in the political world,” they said. “If your candidate doesn’t win, at least you can live with the fact that you voted for who you thought was best.”

While many eligible voters may have doubts when making their decisions, younger demographics, especially college students, feel significantly apathetic toward voting. “I believe that many young voters abstain from voting because they are either unenthused by the candidates or they do not believe that politics immediately affects them,” one Editor noted. “Many young people are also just not registered to vote, or they don’t know how to do so,” they continued. 

Going to the polls to cast a vote also becomes difficult when student voters are living on campus with no means of transportation or are living outside of their own district or their home-state. Situations like these are when absentee ballots and voting by mail become an important link to the election process. 

Because they have never voted while outside of their home-state, many of the Editors were unaware that voters could apply for an absentee ballot if they are living outside of their own voting jurisdiction. 

“I’ve never been out of state during elections. I have, however, mailed my ballot in with plenty of time to be counted,” one Editor noted.

One Editor said that accommodations such as voting by mail and applying for absentee ballots are something that they have looked to learn more about, since they wish to live outside of their own-state in the future. 

Although deadlines for voter accommodations differ among states, any registered voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail. In New Jersey, applications for an absentee ballot must be received seven days before Election Day by mail, or by 3:00 p.m. the day before Election Day in person, according to the New Jersey Department of State. All voted ballots are due by the close of polls on Election Day. 

Many of the Editors will be casting their vote on Election Day this year, and we encourage all registered voters to do the same, especially students and young people. Because government depends on the consent of the governed, we have the right to expect our voices to be heard and appreciated, and our votes to count in making a difference. So whether you are voting Democrat, Republican, or Independent this election cycle: just be sure to get your voice heard at the ballot and vote!

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The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu