Editorial: There is no excuse to not vote in the midterm elections

Voting is easier than you may think, and everyone should cast their ballot.

With the upcoming midterm election on Nov. 6, there is a lot at stake for both sides of the aisle. No matter which political party you belong to, this election will affect you in some way. The Maneater is calling on those, who have the opportunity, to vote.

There is no excuse not to vote, since the voting process has never been easier. This year, Uber and Lyft are providing free rides to voters’ closest polling centers. On Nov. 6, a new button will appear on the app to show riders where their closest polling center is. Also, sites, like Ballotpedia, make it easy to know what is on your local ballot.

Historically, midterm elections have a much lower voter turnout compared to presidential elections. In the 2014 midterm elections, only 35.9 percent of the electorate chose to cast their ballot compared to the 60 percent who voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to Fair Vote.

Only 13 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 chose to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, according to CBS News. The same age group makes up 20 percent of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center. We have the power to make real change and be influential in our government.

You should care about your representation in Congress because your representative makes decisions on your behalf. You should also care about local legislation because they impact your day-to-day life, arguably, in most cases, more than a national legislation can. In Columbia, for example, voters are deciding on a new fuel tax and the legalization of medical marijuana. These possible legislations could change your daily budgeting or treatment plan.

Your vote means even more during this politically divisive period — especially when Missouri’s Senate race is as close as it is.

Though many MU students are away from home, absentee ballots should not deter you from voting. Buy the stamp if you need it. You shouldn’t let 50 cents prevent you from performing one of our most important civic duties. Stamps can be purchased at the MU Student Center at the customer service desk.

Voting is a great privilege. There are many disenfranchised people without the chance to vote in their governments, and it’s disappointing that many enfranchised Americans don’t take the opportunity to vote.

Young people are getting more involved and vocal about their representation — which is great. But tweeting is not the same as voting. Having a discussion about politics is not the same as voting. Yes, these things are important and there should always be a dialogue about politics, but without voting these efforts are futile. Start the conversation, but also vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about your government.

The voting process doesn’t end after you cast your ballot. The second part of voting is paying attention to what your representative is doing in Congress when they think you’re not looking. After voting, make sure to sign up for your representative’s email list so you can keep track of what they are doing on your dime.

Start the conversation, empower yourself and vote.

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