By Nancy Bowne
As an 18-year-old college student who has recently prepared for her first official election, my voting experience was non-existent.
I was supposed to get a mail-in ballot. On Election Day, I realized it might be in my mailbox. When I opened it, all that was perched inside was a party declaration letter from my voting registration. I registered and all I got was a lousy party declaration letter. Besides, the only reason I registered for a party was so I could vote in the primaries next year. But is it even worth it if I don’t actually get a ballot?
Where should we find the motivation to vote? Do we live in a democracy that actually wants us to vote? After all, Thomas Jefferson created the Electoral College because he did not trust the public to make educated decisions for the nation.
Did I mess it up? I registered at Welcome Week and I made it clear that I needed a mail-in ballot. I’m not saying that secret agents from the government swooped in and took my mail-in ballot from my dorm mailbox, but voting is most often not accessible for college students.
Across the country, college students don’t vote. I lamented to some of my friends that I didn’t get a chance to vote, but they just shrugged. Is it the lack of interest? Is it the feeling like they cannot make an impact? Maybe more people will vote for the presidential election next year. Is that a larger societal duty? After all, this year’s election was just local politics.
Consequently, though, it is local politics that truly shape our day to day lives. In September, I attended the New York Press Club journalism conference in New York City and I asked Daily Beast political columnist Harry Siegel about the best way to approach and analyze the ongoing candidate debates.
“(Slightly) forget about crazy national politics,” he responded.
Get involved in local politics where you can see improvement and change firsthand. No Electoral College. While there are corrupt Jersey politics, we can strike change within our own towns.
As a young voter, I want to get involved. I attend some board meetings, I watch some debates and I read the news from many perspectives. I don’t want to just stand with a party for protection to tell me what to do. We need more motivation to act as independent thinkers.
People can still get involved in politics, especially at the local level. We do not need more party planks, copying and pasting ideas here and there on confessional ads that I can’t skip on Youtube.
The most important aspect is that we must not forget our political responsibility on a local level and within ourselves.