We are now less than seven months away from the midterm elections. The majority of states will be electing members to their state legislatures, the U.S. House, and many local positions such as school boards and local judgeships. For those registered in Connecticut (the majority of the student body) this race has added significance, as the governor’s mansion will be up for grabs come November. While the elections are still months away, and the major political parties have not even selected their candidates yet, there are still many ways students can educate themselves about the choices for these various positions and participate in the races if they are so inclined.
One important thing to note is that party primaries are on August 14th (at least in Connecticut). Connecticut has closed primaries, which means someone seeking to vote in say, the Republican primary, must be a registered Republican. Even if you do not feel strongly about a particular party, registering to vote in the primaries can be useful. It gives you more of a say in who the main candidates will be come election season, which can help avoid being faced with two candidates that don’t share your values.
If you are highly loyal to a certain party, voting in a primary can also be a good way to select candidates you think are most likely to succeed or those who you think will be most effective in state/national politics. While one vote may be a drop in the bucket, talking with political groups and aligning your interests to raise your collective voice can really have an impact on what policies a candidate or political party ends up supporting. However, if you are interested in voting in these primaries, make sure you know whether you are registered in your hometown or here in Storrs.
While these elections are often hardly spared a second glance, it would behoove people to educate themselves on the candidates for local positions like school boards and even state legislature positions. These are the politicians who will more often than not have the largest direct impact on someone’s day-to-day life. Because of this, it is best to be aware of who is running for these positions and what initiatives they are supporting. Presidential and gubernatorial elections might grab more screen time and more headlines, but these smaller elections are very much worth paying attention to. Summer provides plenty of time to study up on these candidates and possibly get involved with a campaign if you are so inclined.