By Alexis Book
If you predicted voter turnout based off of the number of angry, political posts on social media, you would probably assume that there was a record number of voters going out to cast their ballot. However, across the board, that is furthest from the truth. The New York State primary has come and gone as of Tuesday, September 13, and according to Time Warner Cable News, only 11% of registered voters came out to vote. While voter turnout was much higher for the national election primaries last April (35-40% of each party’s registered voters), the alarmingly low rate of constituents voting in their local elections is concerning. The Griffin can’t help but wonder why the very people who actively complain on every viral social media thread can’t seem to drive to their nearest polling location and take three minutes out of their day to turn their opinions into action?
Many political scholars theorize that one of the primary reasons for low voter turnout is a lack of trust in the political system. If you don’t believe that your vote actually translates into your opinions being acknowledged and represented, why even vote at all? Of course, the other main reason for low voter turnout is political disengagement, but as collectively well-educated members of a liberal arts college on a mission to set a precedent for social justice, none of us should fall into the category of “politically disengaged.” Under that assumption, and the assumption that the majority of our student body is over the age of 18, The Griffin can’t help but wonder how many of our students went to practice their constitutional right to vote?
In times of political tension, intense partisanship, and a lackluster job market that we all be soon entering (let us pray for our futures), it is increasingly important to cast your voice in the local and national elections. We are no longer the age where we can count on “adults” to make the decisions for us; we are the adults. It’s time to stop blaming our current turmoil on the decisions made by the generations before us. With the right representatives working on our behalf, we can take our future and put it on a different path.
While voting in the national election is important, voting for your student leaders here at Canisius bears just as much weight to you as an individual. With the freshman senator elections underway, The Griffin cannot help but acknowledge the crucial role that student government and politics play here at Canisius. With the freshman class barely having three weeks of classes at under their belt, 15 brave individuals have already chosen to rise to the occasion of running to represent their class in the Senate. This enthusiastic show from the class of 2020 is crucial to the future of our school and how our student tax dollars will be spent in order to better it. If you don’t want $100,000 of student taxes spent on a griffin statue, you must vote. If you want change, you have to be the cause. The first opportunity for change and voting in campus politics begins with these freshman elections. Whether you care about politics or not, they will still be affecting you and those around you. If you want these effects to be in your favor, you must be an active participant and make your voice heard.
So, we at The Griffin want to initiate a revolution in the halls of this fine institution. Let’s take a stand and vote. Actually, you don’t have to stand at all; the freshmen election will take place online and you can cast your vote pantsless in the comfort of your twin XL-sized bed. Maybe one day we can live in a world where we can also cast our votes for the national election in the comforts of our (hopefully much larger) beds. But, for now, cast your vote for student government, and put on your pants and vote for a presidential candidate. It’s time for us to take a stance on the issues that affect our daily lives: the rising cost of college tuition, LGBTQ rights, gender equity, diversity on campus, the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms, adequate pay for our adjuncts and maintenance workers. We can begin to reverse those decisions. We can make a difference. It starts with us voting.