The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Last week’s midterm elections brought a troubling issue to our attention at The Miami Student — the utter lack of voter-participation during elections. We find this passiveness disheartening, and we aren’t exempt from our own criticism. When we discussed this issue at length, only three of our Editorial Board members actually cast a ballot last Tuesday.
In fact, in all of Butler County, the voter turnout was a paltry 37 percent. At first we thought that perhaps it was simply that this was a midterm election, and people are always more likely to vote in presidential elections than any other ballot. Unfortunately, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that voter turnout in the last four presidential elections has been lower than 60 percent.
So, what is causing voters — and from what we’ve seen on campus, college students — to ignore their right to vote?
We scroll through our Facebook and Twitter feeds and see dozens of our friends sharing articles and voicing their opinion on political and social issues as well as their feelings regarding certain politicians. We’ve seen how passionate our generation is in regard to the state of America today. So, why is it that so many of us that shout our opinions in Facebook posts and in class discussions are opting to not vote?
We believe some people find the process too much of a hassle. For out-of-state students, registering to vote in Ohio might be seen as too complicated. For in state students, some may choose to vote absentee, but never actually follow through with mailing in their ballot.
We at The Miami Student see this as a huge problem in America today. For a country that is so proud of freedom of speech and democracy, it’s shocking that so many of us simply disregard our truly valuable right to vote.
Living in the 21st century gives us more access to information and technology than ever before. We don’t have to sit down and listen to a speech on the radio at a specific time on a pre-determined station. We can quickly scan our phone as we walk to class to learn everything we need to know about issues and candidates.
Today, we don’t even have to wait in long lines at voting locations if we choose to have our ballot mailed to us. So with all this convenience available, and so many people seeming to be frustrated with our lawmakers, it makes absolutely no sense that so few of us voted.
This passive mindset needs to change, and it needs to change quickly. We may not see ourselves as adults yet, but whether we like it or not, we have the right to vote. By ignoring our power to make change in America, we are saying that we don’t care what happens to our country -— which is far from true.
Maybe it is a hassle to mail away for a ballot, or to register to vote in a new state where you attended college, but it is a hassle that our ancestors earned for us and that we should respect. If you have the time to post an article on Twitter or write out a complaint about Congress on Facebook, then you have the time to vote.
Change will only happen if we make it happen, and now it is easier than ever to do just that. The Editorial Board hopes that more people will realize the importance of voting in the future, and that maybe in the next presidential election more than 60 percent will show up to decide the future of the United States.