In the Loop: Exercising your right to vote keeps your government in good shape

With election season just around the corner, many Americans are taking their stances on certain issues affecting society; however, Whitworth students seem to be the exception. Still, Whitworth is not alone. Many college students across the country do not deem voting important. Although many of the issues set before American voters affect our generation, young adults seem to be apathetic.

According to civicyouth.org, people ages 18-29 make up 24 percent of the voting population in the United States, but only 51 percent of this age range actually exercise that freedom.

On July 1, 1971 the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution made it illegal to set a voting age higher than 18 years old. This editorial board encourages Whitworth to take advantage of this amendment and the opportunity to vote that has been made available to individuals ages 18-21. It is never too early to start caring about issues that affect our daily lives.

Looking around the Whitworth campus only affirms the belief that we live behind the “pinecone curtain”. There are few political signs in dorm windows and few campus events discussing the election. We aren’t caring as much as we should about the important decisions our nation, state and community must make within the next few months. The outcome of the upcoming election has the potential to change our future.

Why should we care? We have more important things to do than research the issues and candidates that are going to be on the ballot; we have to go to Prime Times, the coffee shop and play Frisbee, right?

While it’s important to be plugged into the campus, it’s also important to know what is going on beyond Whitworth.

Staying educated on current events should be a part of our routines. As college students, we have the freedom to make decisions that can impact the future, yet we aren’t taking full advantage of that. The campus seems to be lacking the passion and education needed during this election season.

Within the next four years, many of us will be pursuing careers, renting or buying homes and getting married. The policies that we vote for today will impact us in the future.

Even if the current issues are not of interest to some students, the demographics that vote are the ones that politicians focus on. Showing up on the polls could increase focus on matters that are of interest to your segment of the population.

Even if national issues seem too distant, there are plenty of worthwhile local matters to be educated on. Local issues affect us more than national issues and our vote carries more weight in local elections.

For instance, issues seen on the Washington state ballot this year include same-sex marriage, state transportation funding and sustainability for Spokane.

It is important to do research on the issues society is facing and to be an educated voter. Getting clued in is easy. Smartphone apps such as Flipboard and Downcast provide current events for someone who is constantly on the go. Most newspapers and magazines also have smartphone apps.

It may also be a good idea to check what political experts are saying about the candidates and the issues involved. They have done their research and you can form an educated opinion based on their findings. How the information is acquired is irrelevant. Once you know the facts, you can form opinions of your own in order to be a smart voter.

Registering to vote is easy. By going to http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting.shtml one can print off a registration form and begin impacting society.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu