DS View: Voting

Every vote submitted makes a difference with low voter turnout.

A recent poll taken in the Tuesday Twos by Student Government indicated that 35 percent of students intend to vote in the upcoming Student Government elections.

Although this may seem like a significant increase from the mere 14 percent of student body who voted last year, this poll could also be fairly misleading. Keep in mind that the 35 percent of students who said they will be voting are not 35 percent of a random sample, but 35 percent of students who care enough about campus life to even vote at all.

Whether or not you decided to vote is entirely your choice and we do not want to give the “vote or die” speech you’ve probably heard over and over again. However, if you do decide not to vote, you should have at least thought about why.

On one hand, this is one election where you cannot use the excuse that you are just one vote and your vote doesn’t matter. In fact, this is probably an election in which your single vote will have more influence than it will for any other. At a school where only around 2,000 students vote, you and your buddies can make the difference for one of the candidates.

Furthermore, whether or not you know much about the workings of Student Government, the elected officials genuinely do have the ability to make a difference on campus. At the very least, you should appreciate the fact that they are allowed to chose how to spend your money, and wouldn’t you like to have a say in where that money is going?

Although there are people that simply choose not to vote because they don’t care, I think part of the problem is that many people have no idea that any of this even exists. My first two years of college, I had no idea we even had a Student Government, let alone a Student Government that was democratically elected — and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

On election day, each student will have two major decisions to make. The first is whether to vote or not. The second is who to vote for. Before you decide how to spend your election day, consider the student body as a whole. Will we be better off with an uninformed vote for a random candidate? Will you regret not voting when you disagree with the new Student Government’s actions?

Each vote in the upcoming elections carries a decent amount of weight, so ask yourself whether you are informed enough to impact the future of this university. If you’re not, and you want to vote, consider getting to know the candidates during their upcoming campaigns.

Sam Wigness is the features editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].