Recently, Watauga County held its municipal elections in order to elect the local government leaders for the next term.
Unfortunately, the amount of people that actually exercised their right to vote was underwhelming.
According to the North Carolina Board of Elections, only 11.7 percent of registered voters actually voted in Boone’s municipal elections. This means that only 11.7 percent of people in Boone had to speak for everyone in electing officials that will directly affect various aspects of our community. It is particularly important to encourage voting on a college campus. Starting to exercise your duty to vote at an early age is a good idea. According to civicyouth.org, people between the ages of 18 and 29 make up 21% of the voting eligible population in the U.S. That is a large portion of the population that should start to vote more. The lack of turnout also means that we cannot be certain that the changes being made will reflect the wants and needs of everyone in Boone, because a small percentage had their say in who was elected. Instead, we will have to sit and hope that the newly elected officials will do what we want them to. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Boone. According to a report on voter turnout from the Bipartisan Policy Center, some 93 million eligible citizens did not vote in the 2012 presidential elections.
What is the point of having the right to have a say in our state and federal governments if we choose not to exercise those rights? A report from ABC news suggested the theory that the reason people don’t vote is because they don’t see the effect of their vote. “As aggregate, voting matters,” Michael Magdzik, a political science student at Yale University, said in an interview with ABC. “But for any one individual, one vote rarely matters.” But each vote counts in making a difference because it is another drop in the bucket of what you and other people want. With the mindset that one vote doesn’t matter, we have more and more people sitting out in the election process. So, we can stand by and let whoever does vote decide for us, or we could choose to vote the next time there is an election. The only way we’re going to get the representation that we seek is by taking the step to elect people we believe will do what we need them to. Opinion: ELIZABETH MCMICHAEL, Opinion writer