Editorial: Get informed, vote – your voice is louder than you think

Abbi Pittman

It’s election season, and we’re wondering – will we see you at the polls?

Statistics suggest we probably won’t, since voter turnout for ages 18-24 has been under 50 percent for the past nine presidential elections.

But this Nov. 6, we at The Appalachian are calling on you to take advantage of your civic duty, of your voice.

We are asking you to vote.

Not for whichever candidate your parents endorse, not for whomever your friends are supporting, not for someone’s name on a button, no — we’re asking you to get educated and make an informed decision.

Voter apathy is rampant on college campuses. Only 40 percent of registered voters ages 18-24 cast their ballots in the 2008 election, according to the U.S. Census. Too often, students think their vote won’t make a difference.

But there’s strength in numbers. Watauga County defeated Amendment One by a narrow 1.6 percent – no doubt significantly aided by the enormous opposition movement led by students at the university.

That outcome might have been different if some of us hadn’t voted, or if the resistance hadn’t been so determined to shoot the amendment down.

Your voice matters. If you don’t vote, other people will – and the results might not be in your favor. One vote can cancel out another for the other side. One vote can pull your candidate ahead.

Why remain silent when you could be so loud?

The people elected to run our country directly affect every single student at Appalachian. Jobs, the economy, healthcare, education, the environment – they apply to all of us, whether you care for the government or not.

Greek politician Pericles once said, “just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

He’s right, even today.

And so now is the time to get the facts. Not only about the candidates for president, but about everyone on the ballot. The Appalachian can help — we’ll be publishing a series of debates on issues in the upcoming election.

Now is the time to register to vote. You have until Oct. 12 in Watauga County. Appalachian’s College Democrats and College Republicans are registering more and more students every day — be one of them.

Now is the time to start caring. Anyone can complain about the government, but you can change something.

In less than two months, you’ll have a say. You’ll have a voice. You’ll have a vote.

Every presidential election makes history – be a part of it.

We’ll see you at the polls.