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Letter to the Editor: Voting

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Dear Editor:

With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, I want to emphasize to your audience that voter turnout is essential. This midterm election, 35 Senate seats are open, as well as all 435 seats of the House of Representatives. With many states allowing early voting, the voting season has already begun.

With that being said, we have the ability to have a major say in how our country is operated because the majority of eligible voters are now of young generations.

According to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 135 million eligible voters are from Generation X, Millennials, or Post-Millennials, making our demographic the “clear majority” since only 93 million voters are Baby Boomers and of older generations. Theoretically, our general opinions should decide who is representing our states and what legislation passes into law.

Historically and unfortunately, we have not shown up to the polls. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report issued in 2015, since 1978, the percent of adults aged 18-34 who voted at midterm elections has “trailed those for older Americans.” For the 2014 midterm election, the percent our age group reached its lowest point at 23.1 percent. While we may be the most vocal and passionate about the country’s societal issues, such as gun violence, mass incarceration or gender equality, our absence at the polls slows the process of fixing these problems.

If we want a bright future for ourselves and our children, we must vote. In doing so, we begin the process of fixing our societal issues by electing officials who share our passion and want to use their power for the country’s well-being. Many of these candidates running for these positions are in tight races, and, with the control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives being up for grabs, every vote counts. These midterm elections, the Democratic Party needs to win 28 of the 35 available Senate seats to gain control, while the Republican Party needs nine. Because the Democrats already have 26 officials holding Senate seats, they only need to win two of the Republican seats to take majority. For the House of Representatives, Democrats need to win 24 seats of the 48 that are considered competitive. With this close of a margin, each vote matters as they could easily dictate the foreseeable future of the U.S.

By voting, we are also given the power to amend the state laws in place. This process can be seen here in Louisiana. These midterm elections, Louisiana residents will be able to vote on if the state should have a unanimous jury verdict to sentence someone to life imprisonment. Currently, Louisiana is one of two states in which one can be sentenced to jail for life for being “convicted of a felony” without the “unanimous consent” of the jury. Amendments like this shape the future of countless lives and indicate how we view justice in America, which are major reasons to vote. We would be setting a precedent for the future.

Now more than ever, we as young generation have the opportunity to make difference, and the effort needed to make the difference by each one of us is small. The potential gain this country could receive is huge. Because of this, I ask that you devote, at most, a few hours out of your day on November 6th to go to your polling location and cast a ballot. Your vote does matter, especially during these 2018 midterm elections.

On Nov. 6, to make it easier for Tulane students who are registered in Louisiana to get to the polls, Women in Politics (WIP) will be orchestrating a caravan project. From 6:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., they will be offering free transport to polling locations in the New Orleans Area. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering to drive students, please email [email protected]

If you are interested in promoting civic engagement and tackling social issues please email [email protected]

Sincerely,

Bailey Casteel

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Letter to the Editor: Voting