As the election season rolls on, university students everywhere will be inundated with ads in all forms of media urging them to get the vote out.
Campaigns such as Rock the Vote urge young voters to make their voice heard.
At the Threefold, we believe that students eligible to vote should.
We also believe, however, that there is a higher level of importance, nuance and responsibility associated with voting than most campaigns would have young would-be voters believe.
In many ways a typical voter participation campaign plays out just like other public service campaigns: DON’T do drugs, DON’T Text and drive, DO Vote.
They try to make voting appear simple.
That’s because those organizations aiming to boost voter participation try to do just that: they focus on making registering and voting as easy as possible.
But voting should not be easy. Registering and going to the polling place should be.
The entire voting process, however, if done responsibly, is not easy.
The most important part of the voting process is the exhaustive process of research: the voter deciding what they themselves, and both candidates, believe.
If voters simply register and vote without knowing anything about politics, they are easily swayed by unsubstantiated factors such name recognition or how photogenic a candidate is instead of more important factors that affect how good the candidates will actually be at their job.
That’s not to say that we do not want young students voting.
The problem is that for many young voters, there are two options: vote without knowledge or do not vote at all.
Many view politics as frivolous, pointless, and fruitless.
They view politics as something to mock and not something to participate in.
The problem is that the very state of politics that causes this malaise is caused by that malaise itself.
When the majority of those eligible to vote don’t, it becomes easier for politicians to get away with the very kind of Machiavellian politicking and ideologically corrupt policy making that people are weary of.
Basically, the problem with voter turnout isn’t just turnout. If more of the 43.2 percent of eligible voters who did not vote in 2008 simply voted, it wouldn’t improve the current state of politics. In fact, a less informed voting population would make things worse. We don’t just need more voters, we need more informed voters. Voting is a powerful tool that more