If you follow the news in any capacity, you have probably heard a thing or two about the midterm elections this year. They are being followed closely at the national level, as control of the House and Senate are both up for grabs by the two major parties. Here in Connecticut, experts say that the federal elections are largely a foregone conclusion: Our Senate and House seats will fall safely in the hands of Democrats. Party control at the state level is much more of a toss-up however; and this gives the 2018 election a greater level of importance in the state.
While it is important to vote in any election, this year has added meaning. In Connecticut, the positions of governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state are all up for election, as are all seats in both chambers of the state legislature. While Connecticut is a Democratic-leaning state, the unpopularity of retiring Governor Dannel Malloy makes this one of the more competitive elections we’ve had in recent years.
Young people have historically voted at lower rates than older generations for a variety of reasons. This mitigates their voice in policymaking while amplifying the opinions of those who may hold contrasting views and different perspectives.
Take, for example, the funding of universities. Students generally place a higher importance on allocating state funds to the University of Connecticut and other state universities because we are more acutely aware of the good this money can do, as well as the fact that it directly benefits us.
On the other hand, older residents of the state might place more value on other initiatives. Policy-making revolves around compromising, but enough people have to believe in each side to make a compromise possible.
If we do not get out and vote then we run the risk of losing a seat at the table, not only regarding funding issues but also other policies that our generation values. For this reason it is imperative that the students of UConn participate in the election. Voting is certainly one part, but we should also inform ourselves on the candidates’ positions as well as engage in civil discussion to develop ideas on how we want our representatives to act. If we put forward the effort, we can be a strong force in politics.