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Opinion Midterm elections: Why they matter

Midterm elections: Why they matter

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Voter turnout rates for midterm elections have always been low. However, midterm elections matter just as much, if not more, as presidential elections. By voting, you’re sending a message to the government, and that message has the power to impact both state and national policies. There’s a lot at stake in the upcoming midterm elections, and by voting, you have a chance to have your voice be heard.

In the midterm elections, you vote for state senators and congressmen. Currently, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for grabs, and one-third of all U.S. Senators have the opportunity to be replaced. The Republican Party currently controls the House and the Senate. Right now, there is a fight for congressional control. If there were ever a time to vote, now would be it.

Your elected officials influence both state and national policy making decisions. By voting for a specific candidate, you’re saying, “This candidate represents me, my interests, and the future I want to see for my state”.  That holds a lot of power. As your representatives are supposed to represent their constituents interests, who represents your state matters. Their values matter, because these values will be reflected in state policy making decisions.  If a congressman who opposes LGBT rights is elected in Mississippi, they could push for anti-LGBT agenda in state policies. By voting for this official, you would be saying that they represent the future of the state that you want to see.

This is why midterm elections matter.

Congressmen vote on issues like net neutrality, state education funding, healthcare policies, LGBT issues, civil rights issues, women’s rights issues, and so much more. All of these things affect everyday lives. If state policies don’t affect you personally, they certainly affect the people around you. If you’re in college, state education funding affects your life. Mississippi is increasingly losing state funding for education.

This not only affects students in Mississippi, but it also affects how much your professors are being paid. Immigration laws could affect your classmate. Your legislators have the power to enact positive change across the state. Vote, if not for you, for them.

A lot of people don’t vote because they think that in the grand scheme, their vote won’t make a difference. However, not everyone has the luxury to choose whether or not they want to vote; they’re automatically told they can’t through systematic oppression.

This year, people have been kicked off of their voter registration list, polling places have been closed or moved without prior notice. Strict voter ID laws have made it nearly impossible for some people to cast their vote. Some state laws deny those convicted of a federal crime their right to vote. It is also becoming increasingly hard for people to participate in early voting or use absentee ballots. Voter suppression is a very real threat. If your vote didn’t matter, people wouldn’t try so hard to take that right away.

So please, take some time to research your candidates.  Find out which candidate has values that align with yours, and vote. Vote for the people who can’t, and vote for the opportunity to create a better tomorrow. To find out where your nearest polling location is, visit vote.org.

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