Issue: A democracy is built on the freedom to vote. Our right to choose our government is absolutely important. This year’s election could dictate the foreseeable future of our country. Now is the time to voice your opinion. If one eligible SDSU student doesn’t vote, that’s one too many.
For those who are not registered to vote, let’s be blunt. Oct. 20 is the deadline for voter registration in Brookings County. It doesn’t matter if you’re from South Dakota or Alaska, if you’re 18 and a U.S. citizen, you need to visit the Brookings County Courthouse (314 6th Avenue in Brookings) and fill out the form. Web sites like rockthevote.com allow people to fill the form out online, print it out and mail it to their local courthouse. Our Students’ Association will even offer a ride and a free shirt on Oct. 16 at The Union for those who register.
Registering and voting aren’t the only steps in ensuring a “more perfect union.” Casting an ignorant ballot is as bad as not voting at all. Just watching FOX News or CNN isn’t enough. All media outlets (including The Collegian) could have bias. Watching and reading multiple sources is the only way to ensure an educated vote. With the infinite resources available on the Internet, citizens have an unprecedented amount of access to information and knowledge. Databases like ontheissues.org and factcheck.org offer avenues to check statements from a wide variety of presidential candidates. Voting for a candidate without any knowledge other than red or blue is dangerous. A candidate could be associated with a political party but not be ready for the job. Only a seasoned and prepared voter can make the educated decision.
Voting is an essential right given by our Constitution. While people across the world lack the precious ability, Americans have a wide variety of excuses to not vote. Some don’t see the purpose, as Pierre and Washington D.C. seem to be distant and removed from their lives. Others hate the “political machine” and feel they’ve been left behind and aren’t represented. In either situation, does it make sense to not participate? If there’s a problem, it’s a citizen’s responsibility to lobby for change. No matter how much time you have, the smallest amount of effort is better than nothing. Remember, revolutionaries founded our country.
When people don’t use their rights as a U.S. citizen, it weakens our society and government.
It’s part of being an adult and a member of this democracy. Either as uninformed or non-registered, numerous Americans throw away the sacrifice given to us. On (or before) Nov. 4, you need to vote. Your country and freedom depends on it.
Stance: Registering to vote is the first step. However, citizens need to take the time to research the candidates and issues on the ballot. Exercising the rights of a democracy isn’t watching Hannity & Colmes, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert or Bill O’Reilly.
Do the research and know what you’re voting for.