What voting means this election cycle

College students are notoriously lackluster when it comes to voter turnout. In 1964, more than half of all eligible voters ages 18 to 24 showed up to vote. In 2000, that number had dropped to about a third. Midterm elections are even worse, with voter rates tending to lag behind presidential elections by about 15 percent. So why should you get up this Tuesday, Nov. 4th, to vote?

  1. If you’re a Republican, you should be pumped up. Polls give Republicans between a 65 and 68 percent chance of taking the majority in the Senate. That would put both houses of Congress under Republican control. President Obama would be hard pressed to pass any of his legislative agenda without resorting to executive orders, something which has already earned him criticism. It would also be more difficult for him to get his appointees, such as federal judges, approved in the Senate. Can I get a “lame duck”? Of course, even for conservatives, there are downsides to a Republican victory. Getting President Obama and Congress to agree on a budget is obviously not a walk in the park. Let’s not forget the Government Shutdown of 2013.
  2. If you’re a Democrat, this should be self-explanatory. Go and vote so the Republicans don’t take control of the Senate. Up and at ‘em, people.
  3. Gubernatorial Races. Yes, great word. Say it a few more times. Due to the aforementioned gridlock at the federal level, state Governors are some of the few politicians in the country who can still get things done. These races are also used by political forecasters to make predictions for the upcoming Presidential election cycle. This year, 21 states are too close to predict. In South Carolina, incumbent Republican Nikki Haley is running against Democrat Vincent Sheheen, in a rematch of their close race from 2010. Haley advocates technical and vocational training to boost job growth and spending almost $200 million to help struggling rural schools. Sheheen’s platform includes lowering the property tax rate to encourage small business growth, instituting full-day kindergarten across the state, and boosting teacher salaries. Haley is South Carolina’s first female and first Indian-American governor. According to the latest Winthrop poll, if the election were held today Haley would beat Sheheen with 43.6 percent of votes to his 33.6 percent.
  4. Midterm ballots include important initiatives that give voters the ability to decide on key issues. Have you ever complained about the debate surrounding gay marriage? Do you feel like your views are misrepresented, or not represented at all? What about the legalization of pot? Abortion? Minimum wage? These are all issues that are at least partially decided by voter initiative, and will all be on the ballot in some states on Tuesday. Find out which topics will be on the ballot where you are voting, and go take advantage of our representative democracy.
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Sigrid is the Editor in Chief of CisternYard News. Born and raised in D.C. (yes, actual D.C.), she spends all her time writing, studying, biking and failing at yoga. She is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Political Science and Film Studies.

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