Debunking Excuses Not to Vote

It’s time to vote in the midterm election. Surprisingly enough, despite the incredible political interest and polarization of our nation, many Americans will not make it to a polling booth Nov. 6.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. voter turnout ranks 26 out of 32 developed countries. 

There are many excuses that people come up with for not getting to their polling places. They range from the weather to the idea that elections are rigged and our votes don’t really matter. If you find yourself coming up with reasons why you won’t make it to the booth, think again. 

The leading reason people don’t vote in America is because of the perception that their vote doesn’t matter. A poll conducted by Suffolk University and USA Today concluded that 15 percent of Americans polled believed their votes wouldn’t make a difference.

Your vote always matters, especially in midterms. Many people are under the assumption that their vote doesn’t count because of the middleman, otherwise known as the electoral college. Americans get discouraged when they vote in indirect elections for the candidate who gets the popular vote, but who doesn’t end up winning the election, much like the 2016 election.

In the midterm, the vote is direct. There is no middleman. The candidate who gets the most votes wins. The electoral college doesn’t interject in this election. It’s incredibly important to cast your vote because that vote is your voice in our democracy.

The second most popular excuse is that voters feel uninterested or uneducated on the topic. In the same poll, 12 percent of Americans reported that they were apathetic toward the election. Being uninterested usually stems from lacking education on the candidates.

There are a few easy steps you can take to become an educated voter. According to the Odyssey, the first step is to decide what issues matter to you. After picking what issues are pressing to you personally and are nationally pressing, you can easily research the candidates and their positions on the topic.

According to the Odyssey, another easy way to gain information is to start talking about it. Not letting people with more knowledge on the topic intimidate you is important. Asking questions is one of the quickest ways to gain information. The voter should never be ashamed of genuinely seeking out knowledge on our democracy and duties by living here.

The last major reason Americans don’t vote is that they feel they are too busy. Eight percent of people polled believed they couldn’t fit it into their schedule. Granted, voting does take a chunk of time out of the day, driving to your polling place, waiting in line, providing proof of registration and finally filling out the ballot. It is completely doable. 

Some easy tips to apply to your life that could allow for extra time to vote include scheduling around it, vote early or vote by mail.

Planning a time to make it to the polling place is sometimes easier said than done. However, getting up earlier, going on your lunch break or even going on your way home from school or work are some easy times to squeeze in an extra 30 minutes to vote.

The state of Kansas allows its citizens to vote  early and request a ballot by mail. With some extra research and planning, anyone can allocate appropriate time to fulfill their civic duties.

Some of Washburn’s very own students are incredibly excited about the upcoming election.

Katrina Hinojosa, an avid member of the leadership community on campus, believes wholeheartedly in the power of voting.

“Every vote counts. It’s not just our right, but our civil responsibility to make educated votes. If we don’t, nothing will ever change,” Hinojosa said. 

Sarah Reineke, freshman at Washburn, is proud to say that she voted early.

“If you don’t have a say in your government, it’s because of a dictatorship.” Reineke said.

Voting may take some extra time, research and planning, but being able to voice our opinions in our democratic nation is one of the greatest gifts the U.S. has given us.