As many of you may (or may not) know, this past Tuesday was our nation’s midterm elections. You would think that around the county, state and country, Americans would come out of their houses to the polls in order to exercise their democratic right. You would think that the people of our country, the best nation in the land, would take 10 minutes out of their Tuesday (or even any day in the weeks leading up to the election since early voting is just as simple) to cast their opinion of who should help to lead our community and country. A vote to make all the fighting in past and present wars and the injustice endured to gain suffrage made worthwhile through pushing a button and letting their voices be heard, since so many did not get the chance to do the same.
But, on Tuesday we learned, as we have been reminded time and time again, that this is not the case. I am unsure of what people were doing instead, since American Horror Story doesn’t come on until Wednesday. Maybe they were busy at an exciting event, or they were sick in bed with Ebola and decided to binge watch Netflix instead. Maybe these things sound like valid excuses. They are not. Polls opened for early voting weeks before the election, and if you didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of your bed, absentee voter forms are easy to acquire. Your voice should not be quieted by a busy schedule, an upset stomach or 12 episodes of Orange is the New Black (shoutout to Laverne on campus).
As you read this, do not pretend that it does not apply to you. It does. Just because you are a busy college kid who lives away from home does not mean you should not vote. College campuses have a duty to get out and vote, and Case Western Reserve University is no exception. We are educated young Americans who know the effects of the democratic process directly. It matters to us. It changes our lives.
So you are still registered at home and can’t get back to Montana to vote on a Tuesday afternoon? That’s fine. Register here in Cleveland where you can walk to your polling location on election day. Our campus offers a variety of opportunities to make registration an easy process, like CCEL registering students at the beginning of the semester. Want to have a voice in the issues in your hometown instead? Early voting opens many weeks before the election and can be done at a central location in your home area. No matter what your preference or situation may be, you can vote. There is no excuse.
But on Tuesday, I heard every excuse in the book. The truth is, I don’t care. Those elected on Tuesday are the people who will make decisions that affect you directly. Sure, it was a midterm election. There was no fancy political debate on CNN, and Jon Stewart didn’t make jokes about everyone on your ticket, but these leaders are still making changes, and you deserve to choose. From local to state to national levels our governmental system leads the way for the lives we live, whether we realize it or not. You have a responsibility to cast a vote. Let your voice be heard.
Kassie Stewart is a junior political science major. Self-described as Amy Poehler and Joe Walsh’s love child, her mantra is “no day but today.” She enjoys napping, sarcasm and peanut butter.