Should you vote in local elections?

By Jessie Fawson and Christina Coloroso

No-voting is a complete waste of time (Fawson)

When Nov. 8 comes around, where will you be? Well, I’ll tell you where you won’t be-you won’t be at the polls because not only has it been proven that college-age students vote in incredibly low numbers, but they also don’t vote in local elections. I mean, it isn’t as though voting for a city council member or mayor really matters!

Sure, they affect your streets, your garbage pick-up and other day-to-day things, but in all reality, they don’t really affect your life.

They can’t send you off to war or affect the rise of gasoline prices. In fact, they don’t have that much say at all, so you may as well not vote.

In addition to that, let’s not forget that your vote might not even be counted. How many of us realize that our absentee ballot must be mailed on or before voting day and that the envelope must be clearly stamped? If you miss the mail or the post office smears the date, your vote doesn’t get counted.

And those wonderfully contentious ballots-the punch cards that caused all that controversy during the 2000 election? Yeah, we still use those.

When it comes down to it, voting just isn’t worth it.

There is no good reason for you to waste your time on Election Day. Even if your vote does get counted, it doesn’t mean you’ll see anything beneficial or good from the candidate you helped elect.

Most politicians don’t care about the people who helped elect them-except in a voting year.

Most of the time, they are going to do what benefits them and, we hope, the rest of us. The people that benefit from elected officials are the ones who donate the most and are the most influential.

By voting in a system, you are supporting that system. But if the system doesn’t really support you, why should you implicitly legitimate it by voting?

Our government is not nearly as concerned with the people as it should be, so why should we even care enough to vote and try to change the system? It’s a waste of time!

The best way to really stand up and show our elected officials who’s boss is not to vote for the best candidate-it’s to fight the system. Don’t believe the hype, there is no good reason to vote!

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Yes-voting is a right and privilege (Coloroso)

Unfortunately, too many college students either don’t know or don’t care about this Nov. 8’s high-stakes election.

Sure, the election won’t decide the course of a major war, nor will it redefine the American position on terrorism. It won’t even impact national domestic policies such as social security.

But that is no excuse for the overwhelming apathy felt toward municipal and mayoral elections in Utah.

City and county council races are high-stakes, too. These representatives are the people with whom we are most likely to have direct contact about issues we face on a daily basis, including trash collection, neighborhood planning and traffic congestion.

Even though they seem inconsequential, all you need to do is to wake up without clean water or sewage disposal to realize the importance of local leadership and representation. Knowing how important these races are, it is a shame so few people vote.

For those of you concerned with how little an individual vote may matter in a larger national election, the election on Nov. 8 is a great place for you to make your voice heard. In the race for Salt Lake City Council in District 7, for example, only three votes separated second and third place (second place moved on to the general election, third was eliminated). In Draper’s Council race, there was a difference of seven votes. Your personal decision to go to the polls can alter the entire course of your community, and thus there is no excuse for staying home.

It’s time for cynical and unconcerned college students to rethink their feelings about voting. Casting a ballot is important in every instance, even if you don’t win-even if you don’t come close to winning. It sends important signals to the leaders who are elected, as well as your neighbors, as to what you want the future of your world to be, which leads the way for future changes.

Voting also allows for self-definition and exploration about the issues we face and how we individually want them to be resolved.

Most basically, voting is a civic obligation in a democracy that requires interested and involved citizens.

So on Nov. 8, get yourself to the polls. Decisions are made by the people who show up: Don’t leave the decisions about your community in the hands of others. Take an active role and voice your opinion.

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