Voting is cool—But no one’s doing it

Editorial Board

Midterm general elections are fast approaching here in Kentucky, and time is running out to register to vote! If you register by Oct. 9 and vote on Nov. 6, you’ll be part of a semi-elite club of college-aged people: civic participants.

In 2016, less than 50 percent of 18-29 year olds voted in the midterms, and less than 20 percent voted in 2014. Voter turnout is lower on average in years where there is no presidential race, but that doesn’t mean intermediate years are any less important.

Plenty of young people on college campuses have left their hometowns and moved to unfamiliar areas with unfamiliar politics. A lot of them aren’t aware that they can change the residency on their voter registration in order to vote in these new cities. Plenty of college students don’t understand politics, and a good lot of them prefer to see themselves as existing outside the realm of political implications.

They’re wrong.

The fact of the matter is not a single person in the United States is unaffected by politics. Whether you’re still on your parents’ insurance or haven’t begun paying your own living expenses—maybe your parents have even promised to pay for your student loans—politics have infiltrated your life in a multitude of ways.

By this time in your life, you’ve probably had a percentage of your paycheck taken out to pay taxes. You’ve surely driven down a road with streetlights and potholes. There’s a decent chance you’ve gotten irritated that the only parking spot left is reserved for handicapped citizens, and you don’t fit the criteria to utilize that space.

All of these things are the consequence or impetus to governmental policy.

Congressional elections at both the state and federal levels give young people a voice that is often overshadowed by more experienced civic participants. And the vote actually counts.

The 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote, and the 17th Amendment allowed citizens to directly vote for Senators. Why is voter turnout lowest when your vote—theoretically—has the most impact on policy? Members of the House and Senate aren’t subjected to the processes of the electoral college, so the raw numbers matter.

The president has a household name, and media coverage of his actions is vastly more abundant than that of many congressmen and congresswomen. The president has some sway in the lawmaking process, but he doesn’t sit in the congressional chamber deliberating, gutting and adding to a bill. These people should matter to you.

There are a few major reasons midterms should be specifically important to college-aged students: cost of college, prospective economic/job markets, and longevity of impact. In other words, we’re going to have to endure the aftermath of political decisions for longer than older generations. These elections should matter to you.

Don’t waste your chance to be heard. Colleges can hold registration drives and educate students about candidates. Students can spread the word and canvas for candidates they like. They can talk about #WhyIVote on social media.

It takes five minutes to register, and you can do it online. You’re even assigned a voting center close to your residency, so the trip to the ballot is short, too. It all starts at