Voting: Just do it

No matter how students lean politically, it’s important to remember to vote.

Luis Ruuska

In the wake of the recent government shutdown, there are likely few who would argue our country’s politicians are paragons of cooperation and functionality.

But this only stresses the importance of getting out to the polls to vote, especially with Election Day less than a week away.

It sounds almost too idealistic and patriotic to refer to voting as a civic duty as so many do, but in a world where so many other societies still do not have free elections, it’s our responsibility to take advantage of this privilege.

This responsibility becomes even more apparent when you realize just how many young people (ages 18 to 29) are eligible to vote: 46 million.

With young voters making up nearly a third of the electorate, you would think that politicians would be pandering for our vote, but this is not so.

As it turns out, only 45 percent of young voters actually turned out to vote in 2012.

In spite of this dismal number, young Minnesotans had the third-highest turnout behind Mississippi and Wisconsin at 57.7 percent.

The solution may actually be as easy as getting younger voters registered to vote in the first place. This was apparent in the 2008 election season when 84 percent of youth who registered to vote turned out to the polls to cast their ballot.

Minnesota is one of just a handful of states to offer same-day voter registration, a service that 61 percent of all Minnesota voters — mostly the youngest and oldest voters — take advantage of.

Even out-of-state students are eligible to vote so long as they list their campus residence as their residence and can prove that they have resided in Minnesota for at least 20 days prior to Election Day.

Many students who feel busy enough might regard voting as the last thing they have time for, but the truth is that your vote — or lack of it — might affect our community.

We have the numbers and the power to create change. We have a golden opportunity to elect officials who will work for the interests of students. So what’s stopping us?