Neglected Civic Duty

As most of you know, today is the mid term elections. Out of curiosity, I have asked some of my peers if they were going to vote or not. A lot of them say they “don’t really care”, while others say they didn’t even know the elections were going on.

One of the classes I am taking this semester, “The Politician and the Journalist” taught by Congressman Richard Neal goes in depth about how important it is to reach out to the public in order to obtain their vote and point America in the direction they feel is the right one. Congressman Neal during our class really goes in depth about which types of voters he is most likely going to spend more time with. Although college students do vote, they are more likely to “sometimes” vote; while elderly voters are more likely to vote for sure.

Obtaining the votes of the people is a constant struggle for a politician because you have to keep fighting for their opinion on who should represent them. Aside from elderly voters, another group Democrats and Republicans try to reach out to are the independent voters. The votes from the independent voters could make or break a your chances of winning depending on which way they sway.

In order to better understand following trends in polling data, as an assignment Congressman Neal assigned each of his students a senate race from another state to follow. We have been following these races for about seven weeks now, trying to notice the issues and challenges these senators are facing during these elections. I was assigned to follow the race in Louisiana between Bill Cassidy (R), and Mary Landrieu (D). Currently Landrieu is the incumbent up for re-election, but during this election she is having a difficult time because she does not have the same support she had back in 2008. In 2008 she relied on the African American voters to buoy her in the race. Today, she does not have that support because a lot of people are unaware the mid-term elections are even going on right now. Most votes focus so much on the presidential election every four years, but they forget about the senate races that go on every two years.

Voting is our civic duty as citizens of the United States, and it is important to make sure we get as many voters as possible to the voting booths. We get a say in who we want to represent us, as well as decide whether the laws on the ballot pass or not. That is why it is important to care about the elections, and take them seriously. According to a Pew survey of predicted non-voters this election: 43 percent of people who are non-white will not vote, 34 percent of people under age 30 will not vote, and 46 percent of people with family income under $30K will not vote. If you, or any of your friends and family did not get a chance to vote this term, raise awareness for next time, because there are too many non-voters and all our opinions matter.

About christianyapor21

I am currently a Journalism/English major at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. I enjoy reading, writing, and photography. I aspire to become a multimedia editor.
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1 Response to Neglected Civic Duty

  1. I think this is an interesting topic you brought up. Because the course focuses on media, technology, and culture, I was wondering what people’s thoughts would be on making midterm elections like these more noteworthy to voters and what the possibility of even making voting easier for people to complete. 2 years ago, when the Presidential election took place, I knew it was an important election and I filled out an absentee ballot that I mailed in. Maybe it meant more to me because it was the first presidential election that I was old enough to take part in.

    But, this time around, I did not. It didn’t even occur to me until this past weekend that election day was coming up. Although I do regret not voting, I did not miss turning on the television and constantly seeing political advertisements where candidates attack each other. Unlike the previous election day, where the (sometimes crazy) students were out in full force on campus campaigning for their candidates, this election day seemed to slip by everyone. I didn’t see tables around campus where students could sign up to register to vote in Amherst. Even the administration was slow, as they waited until Tuesday was more than halfway over before they sent out an email that explained where registered voters in Amherst could cast their votes.

    But what if voting was made simpler. The biggest struggle is getting people to the polls to perform their civic duty. What if there was some way to cast your votes online on the day so people could do it when it was more convenient to them. Or, what if the polls had the “drive through” option where voters wouldn’t have to leave their vehicles to cast their vote. Heck, the drive through option is now available at funeral homes for wakes. Why couldn’t it work here too?

    If there was a way to do this securely, would it make more registered voters actually cast their votes? Or would other problems still arise? Curious to know what other people think.

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