Your excuse not to vote is nothing more than that

Jack Spiegel, Photography Editor

Generation Z and other younger generations have historically been known to vote in small numbers. There are several reasons this could be: disinterest in politics, lack of knowledge about voting access or the thought that what happens in politics will not affect them.

The day after the election, I went around asking students on the Mount Carmel Campus Quad whether or not they voted. Some people said yes, but the vast majority said no.

“I don’t even know who’s running,” one student said. “I’m not registered to vote,” said another. “I haven’t seen the news in a very long time, so I don’t even know what it’s about,” said another.

The happenings of your community are the exact reasons public policy is made, so it is important to vote the people into office who you want to represent your values.

In Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, the Associated Press projected incumbent Jahana Hayes will win re-election by a margin of just 1,974 votes (0.8%) as of 11 p.m. on Nov. 11. She previously won this seat by over 10 points.

In Colorado’s ruby-red 3rd Congressional District, Democrat Adam Frisch has been on the brink of unseating Trump-backed, and Trump-supporting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, for days. This race has teetered back and forth since election day with Boebert up only 1,122 votes as of 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 11. The AP has yet to make a projection for this race, as of publication.

Boebert carried her 2020 race by six points following her primary win over five-term incumbent, Scott Tipton.

These hard-fought congressional races and the local municipal races are the ones that need your vote the most.

Voting is a constitutional right that women in this country didn’t have until 1920. To not take advantage of this right because you “don’t know what’s going on” or you “don’t think politics affects” you is, frankly, selfish.

If codifying Roe v. Wade (the constitutional right to an abortion) into law isn’t enough, or making healthcare affordable, or keeping income taxes low, or lowering inflation or canceling student loan debt isn’t enough, then I don’t know what is.

The top issues to voters are inflation and abortion, while crime, gun policy and immigration sitting at the top of about 10% of voters minds, respectfully, according to a CNN exit poll released on Nov. 8.

All of these issues have direct impacts on your life. Access to a safe abortion could prevent health problems for women. Lower inflation will ease the strain on many citizens’ bank accounts. Stricter gun safety measures will prevent the deaths of innocent children in our schools.

There is only one place these issues can be solved, and that is in the government. Our democracy is designed in a way that we have a designated number of citizens be elected to make decisions on behalf of their constituents.

The only way these people can make said decisions is if you vote them into office.

Illustration by Emma Kogel

Since the pandemic began, many states have eased their restrictions on requesting mail-in ballots and absentee ballots. This does not mean that they are easy to get everywhere, but access to one’s ballot is much more than it was previously, especially for students who go to college out of state.

I’m lucky to live in Colorado where every registered voter is automatically sent a ballot in the mail without any additional requests needed – besides your current address if you are not living in your residential address. I received my ballot here in Connecticut a few weeks before election day and was able to return it in ample time. I was also able to track it on the Secretary of State’s website.

Colorado is also known for having some of the highest voter turnout rates, according to data compiled by the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office. They are also known for having some of the most secure elections in the nation.

Connecticut also overwhelmingly passed Question 1 on Nov. 9, which allows the state legislature to make laws regarding early in-person voting.

Not every state is that easy, though. In New Jersey, voters must print out a form, send it in to their county clerk, have their ballot sent to them, fill that out, and send the ballot back to the county clerk to be counted.

The bureaucratic nature of this process is disincentivizing young voters who are arguably the most important voting bloc in the current electorate.

It is a lot easier to print out a sheet of paper and put it in the mail than it is to see your child laid to rest because our legislators can’t seem to find a good enough reason to ban assault weapons.

— Jack Spiegel, Photography Editor

The policies that are made now by those in power are likely to affect Gen Z voters years down the road, more than they are to affect boomers tomorrow.

A 2021 Tufts University study found that 50% of young (18-29) people voted in the 2020 presidential election. Though this sounds good on the surface level, I take a more cynical approach to this statistic. This means that 50% of eligible young voters did not turn out to the polls.

This could be for any of the reasons listed above, but they are nothing more than an excuse.

It is a lot easier to print out a sheet of paper and put it in the mail than it is to see your child laid to rest because our legislators can’t seem to find a good enough reason to ban assault weapons.

Although I hate clichés, I am going to use one here because I truly believe in it. You need to vote like your life depends on it because it very well might.

There is no valid excuse as to why you should not vote. Knowing what is happening in society is an important aspect of being a citizen to this country.

The happenings of our government are determined by the people we elect to office, so let’s make sure we are doing our part in electing the right people.