Column: Be informed for elections

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

The Tuesday over Spring Break I did something I have been looking forward to doing for years–voting.

Ever since I was in elementary school and first learned the political process was something that I could take part in, I have been extremely excited to vote.

What was even more exciting was my Facebook news feed that day. It seemed like all of my friends were flaunting their “I voted” stickers, encouraging their friends and family to do the same.

Though my fellow millennials can get a bad rap, as some do not think they take politics and elections seriously, my peers were able to prove them wrong in the passionate campaigning and voting they did in support of their favored candidates.

In the suburbs and city of Chicago, which make up Cook County, there was even a record-breaking turnout for early elections.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 102,409 early votes had been cast in the suburbs by the Sunday afternoon before the primaries, compared to 51,116 in the 2008 primary.

Getting the chance to have a say in who will lead the country next is an amazing right, especially in an election that has been talked about and is as unusual as this one has been.

But often, when talking about voting, people tend to forget about the smaller elections that can make a big impact on the fate of their communities and even the country.

According to the Pew Research Center, “voter turnout regularly drops in midterm elections, and has done so since the 1840s.”

An example they use is the 2008 election, when 57.1 percent of the voting-age population voted, which was the highest in 40 years.

However, only 36.9 percent voted in midterm elections, which caused the House of Representatives to be put “back in Republican hands.”

For better or worse, these midterm elections determined which party had the most power in Congress, something that could shift the political balance in varying directions.

Every election counts, even if some are not as glamorous. For every vote you cast, there is a chance for your voice to be heard.

Even the smallest elections, such as the various ones going on at the university and community level, have the power to impact what your life is going to be like.

Choosing the person who will represent you and ultimately make decisions on your behalf is not something to take lightly, either.

It is imperative that voters go into elections informed and prepared to make the best decisions for themselves as possible.

Cassie Buchman is a sophomore journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].