Opinion
Off-year elections should not be overlooked
Old Gold & Black
By
Editorial Staff
Thursday, November 5, 2015

On Nov. 3, millions of Americans across the country went to the polls to elect their local officials and judges.

Unsurprisingly, voter turnout in local elections gains significantly less attention than the presidential election, but we believe it is just as important to vote in these off-year elections.

Local elections do not have the drama of the presidential election, but it is still the civic duty of every American adult to vote.

Voter turnout is abysmal in local elections. The vast majority of the population pays no attention to non-presidential elections.

Politicians often have a bad reputation in the U.S. A new political scandal appears a regular basis shaking Americans’ confidence in their elected officials. Even short of scandals, politicians are not viewed favorably.

However, every man and woman in the country has the opportunity and the duty to change that. Many complain about the inefficiency and ineptitude of the government but choose not to vote.

A democracy only works if people take advantage of their right to vote for their leaders. Students, in particular, have the opportunity to influence American elections.

It’s not just government inefficiency that can be fixed by careful consideration on Election Day every November.

In part because of low voter turnout, minorities are often underrepresented on the local and state levels. Voting is a way to make the voice of every member of our society heard through the election of our public officials.

The Editorial Board urges all members of the Wake Forest community to vote.

Voting is not a privilege, it’s a responsibility.

If you were not registered to vote or simply did not pay attention to this most recent election, we encourage you to both register and consider the candidates ahead of next year’s election.

Next November, we will elect the next president of the United States. The presidential election gains more national attention than local elections, but voter turnout rates often hover in the mid to high 50s. After the election, the new president will face constant criticism as presidents always do, yet only a little above 50 percent of Americans take the time to vote in the first place. It is also important to pay attention to the election and educate yourself beyond a quick Google search the night before the election.

Many say that their vote does not count so it does not matter who they vote for. It may be true that a single vote does not have a major influence on the outcome of the election, but the thought of millions of people sharing that thought is, frankly, scary.

The presidential election is a full year away, so there is plenty of time to educate yourself on the candidates and their stances on major issues.

Taking the time to vote in your busy life can be difficult, but it really is important. Remember to register to vote, and if you cannot vote in person, to request an absentee ballot from your local Board of Elections.

Only the voters can hold our elected officials accountable.