Election Day is right around the corner, and let’s hope people have learned a thing or two from last year. This millennial got her ballot in the mail today, which makes this my fifth general election I’ve participated in.
It looks as if Thurston County has some decisions to make, with council and commissioner spots open and school board elections. Welcome to an “Off-Year” where the local politics don’t come across as all that exciting, but they are arguably just as important, if not more important, than the big election years. I’m here to remind you why voting is important.
The stereotypical: “Not everyone has the right to vote”
This one is something that I find extremely important, even if it is cliche. The fact is, not all countries allow their people to have a say in what their government does. Elections happen every year, so that there is opportunity to make changes within our community. Without participating in the voting process, a result may be one that doesn’t benefit the popular opinion. Which leads me to my next point.
Unlike the presidential election, your vote DOES matter
In the presidential election, things get confusing — especially when the electoral college and the popular vote turn out differently. I know I’m going to get a lot of heat for saying this, but we definitely getting screwed by the electoral college. Luckily, the popular vote actually determines how a decision is made.
Local elections and “off-years” are directly by the people and for the people. Due to low voter turnout during off years, every vote matters and every vote counts.
Voting is a form of expression
If you agree with something, you can vote to maintain it; if you don’t, reject it and force committees to start over. This is your chance to let our collective voices as a community be heard.
Not enough people participate in the voting process
Millennials often get a bad reputation for being apathetic. But since the chaotic storm of Trump, more and more people are becoming aware of just how terrifying society and life can be when power is in the wrong hands.
In 2016, voter turnout was high among Millennials and Gen-Xers and has been on the rise in recent years, while Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation have had a decline in voter participation. If more people who were eligible to vote registered and turned in their ballots, there would be a more accurate representation of the wants and needs of our society.
Voting is your civic duty
For the sake of your family, friends, children, grandchildren, pets, etc., you are given the power to help make decisions for your community. If you don’t vote, you shouldn’t complain. With so many laws and amendments set in place to give us the right to vote, to ignore them is like slapping Lady Liberty in the face.
The initiatives we pass, advisory votes we reject or maintain, and the people we elect reflect who we are as a community
By putting people in charge of various aspects of our community, it directly reflects who we are as a society. Advisory votes are something we need to pay attention to this year because it is so crucial for the upcoming elections. Decisions are made at the Capitol often without our consent, but these decisions are made by the people we voted for to represent us. We need to pay close attention for these decisions directly impact us. If you disagree with an action that was made on The Hill, then maybe you need to re-evaluate who you vote for.
Washington state has a voting process that is voter friendly
Polls, though a classic and symbolic representation of democracy, are becoming a thing of the past. In Washington, we are fortunate enough to have mail-in ballots, where we have access to information, time to evaluate the various items on the ballot, and the comfort of voting in your own home. You can feel comfortable voicing your opinion, instead of awkwardly working your way around the polling stations.
Registering to vote also has gotten a lot easier! You can register online, by mail, or in person — whatever works best for you.
Election Day is Tuesday. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., you can drop off your ballots at the various ballot drop box locations, or mail them in. For more information, and to locate the nearest drop box near you, check out www.sos.wa.gov!
Alyssa Pietz is a member of The Olympian’s 2017 Board of Contributors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.