Don’t be left without a vote

By By Matt Homer

By Matt Homer

Election Day-Nov. 7-is rapidly approaching, but unless you are registered, you won’t be able to cast your vote. Utah law requires that registration forms be postmarked and mailed at least 30 days prior to the election. This deadline has already passed.

Fortunately, Utah law also allows procrastinating applicants to register at “satellite locations” on the 15th or 18th day before an election. This means that today and Monday are your last chance. Luckily for students, one “satellite location” is on campus. The Salt Lake County Clerk’s office will be at the Union today and Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to help students register.

Why vote? There are certainly many reasons not to. Your vote may not make much of a difference, you may be too busy, you may have lost faith in the political system, you may not know how to register or you may not even be aware that an election is happening.

Whatever the reason, it’s also wise to consider the outcome if you don’t vote. First, look at yourself. Effective voting requires you to carefully consider different viewpoints, research candidates and weigh solutions to societal problems. Your vote may not determine the outcome of an election, but it does form your worldview and may even guide your future. Voting is not only an exercise of collective decision-making-it’s also a form of self-expression and enlightenment.

Now, consider the effect of inaction upon society as a whole. Failing to vote sends the message to politicians that they don’t need to worry about college-aged students. It gives them the signal that it’s OK to load the burden of social security payments onto our backs. It tells them that we don’t need any more money for higher education. Essentially, it gives them permission to do whatever they want without considering us.

This message of apathy must be reversed. Two years ago 47, percent of eligible 18-to-24-year-olds voted, marking the highest voter turnout for our age group since 1972. Now is a chance for us to build upon this momentum. With the cost of tuition increasing at a higher rate than inflation and the possibility of a draft becoming more likely, it’s absolutely imperative that we make our viewpoints known.

Not sure if you can vote? Are you older than 18? Are you a U.S. citizen? Have you been a resident in Utah since Oct. 8? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you’re eligible.

If you’ve registered before, you won’t need to do it again unless you have moved, changed your name or want to change your party affiliation. If you’re unsure of your registration status, just give your county clerk a call or visit your clerk’s Web site.

Nov. 7 is looming near and now is your last chance to register. The officials you elect could influence the size of your tuition bill, but unless you are registered, you won’t even be able to cast a vote.

Ryan Perkins