Represent your generation and vote

Though Utah’s electoral vote may not be significant, voting in local elections is a different story. Unfortunately, Utah’s youth is failing to vote in local elections.

Utah voters ages 18 to 29 finished 49th in voting participation out of all states (including the District of Columbia) in the 2006 midterm elections, despite a national rise that year.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement’s research also shows that Utah ranks in the top five in the nation for youth political volunteering. So, the youth of Utah cares, but not enough to make it to a voting booth on Election Day.

It’s easy. Get out and vote.

OK, for some, it’s not that easy. In fact, it is possibly easier to volunteer in elections, form an opinion on the issues and candidates, and critique the events without waiting in the lines to be a part of a voice actually heard. However, without the representation of a vote — whether locally or nationally — what right does one have to criticize?

Although it is conceivable that some may not feel inclined to vote in national elections — after all, hanging chads and electoral preferences may render a vote useless when deciding who the next president is — it is almost imperative that the youth of Utah takes local elections more seriously.

In local elections, every vote counts — really. In 2006, party control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was decided by a mere 23 votes.

As members of an institution of higher education — one that is funded by taxes and whose tuition is determined by elected officials — students at the U should see the effect each vote can make and invest in our city and state by making youth voter turnout in local elections a priority.

The outcome of local elections determines many things that citizens tend to take for granted. Taxes, maintenance of streets, funding for city projects and occasionally the reputation of a city all depend upon the election of mayors, representatives and council members.

Whether students are local or are only awarded temporary local status in their time at the U, an effort should be made to become informed on candidates, understand the stance they would take on important local issues and translate an opinion into a vote for a candidate who best represents what the voter has to say — not only during the general election but the primary as well.

Bravo to VoteProject, a U initiative sponsored by ASUU and the Hinckley Institute trying to get students registered. They’ll be out there at Impact Day today — take a minute to stop and fill out an application if you’re not already registered. The efforts of these guys can help turn around the bad rap often given to students.

This year, primary elections will be held on Sept. 11, and general elections will take place on Nov. 6.

What you do with your ballot matters, so vote.

[email protected]