Editorial: Students must vote

Student leaders around campus urge UI students to get to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote.


Katina Zentz

A student registers to vote on Sept. 21, 2018.

Voting is not just our right as American citizens, it is our duty.

According to several data sources, only around 45 percent of people ages 18 through 29 turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential election. In a midterm election, voter turnout is almost cut in half.

This abysmal statistic is not new to our generation; voter turnout among young people has long been notoriously low. This does not have to be the narrative this year.

University of Iowa students at the have an opportunity to change the “norm.” On Nov. 6, all students should take the time to vote.

RELATED: How to vote in the 2018 midterm election  

One of the most popular reasons people do not vote is the belief that their vote does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. This is understandable — how could one vote really influence an entire election. The truth is, one vote seldom actually becomes the deciding factor between which candidate wins an election. But each and every vote cast for a candidate absolutely makes an impact in who is chosen to represent us in local, state, and federal governments. 

Iowa’s 43rd District, which is up for grabs this election cycle, comprises Iowa City. This means that most UI students who are registered to vote at their current residence will be eligible to vote in this race. The UI has around 24,500 undergraduate students currently enrolled; if every student votes Nov. 6 in the 43rd District state Senate race, the student vote will determine who represents the district.

Voting is important. State and local officials make important decisions that affect our everyday life. This includes: higher-education funding, environmental policies, affordable housing policies, health care, and countless other items. Our elected officials make decisions on our behalf that affect almost every aspect of our lives.

To become more educated on candidates and what they believe in, BallotReady, Vote 411, and Ballotpedia are all nonpartisan organizations that provide information about candidates’ stances on the issues.  

RELATED: 2018 Voter Guide

The Daily Iowan asked student leaders on campus why they believe it is important to vote.

“Voting is important for a multitude of reasons. Particularly, voting is an inherent right afforded to every citizen of age in our Constitution. As an American it is our duty to vote and to be engaged with our political system because that is how we drive our future forward.

Not every person on this planet is given the same right to vote as given to U.S. citizens. No matter your party affiliation, it is important to vote on your beliefs and views that will help better society.”

— Jason Pierce-Vazquez, InterFraternity Council president

“I am voting because my voice will affect the future of our local, state, and federal politics. I want to see tangible change made by our elected officials who will consistently fight for the needs of students at the University of Iowa.”

Connor Gronski, UISG speaker of the Senate

“Everyone cares about something. Find what that thing is for you, and run with it. Learn what your legislators think about that issue or project you just can’t stop thinking about, and vote accordingly. Vote on your values, and vote in local, state, and federal elections. And vote in student-government elections. It takes all of us staying engaged to make a difference … and if we can do that, nothing will stop us.”

Jocelyn Roof, UISG Government Relations chair

“It is important to vote because we have the opportunity to make change, to make something bigger of ourselves. Some may see it as 10 minutes of writing on a ballot, but it is 10 minutes of changing the course of future. My question is: How much time would YOU give to the future?”

Tristan Schmidt, Homecoming royalty

“Politics affects nearly every aspect of our current and future lives, and as students, we need to take an active role in shaping what we want those policies to be. Whether you vote in Iowa City or your hometown, make sure you do your civil duty and cast your ballot this November.”

— Kyle Apple, president of College Republicans

“Voting affects every part of a college student’s life — from deciding our national policies to policing abusive landlords to the cost of parking tickets. Voting is a privilege, and everyone should take advantage of it.”

— Jenna Pokorny, executive vice president of Tippie Senate