Inform yourself before you cast your ballot

Simply registering to vote isn’t enough. According to the official report of the 2014 Nebraska General Elections compiled by Nebraska Secretary of State John A. Gale, only 552,115 of the 1,158,840 registered voters in the state of Nebraska submitted ballots in the last midterm election. In Dawes County, only 2,786 of 5,983 registered voted. That is less than half of the already registered voters. 

So why is it that 20-somethings would rather participate in Twitter polls than cast a ballot for government officials?

We believe that a large part of why college students don’t vote is because they don’t know who or what they are voting for. The midterm elections are often seen as obsolete in comparison to the presidential election.  But the truth is, the party that holds the majority seat in Congress can have a greater impact on our government than the president alone. 

Midterm elections happen halfway between a presidential term. During the midterm elections, we elect one third of U.S. Senators, which is 35 seats this term, and all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A party needs 219 seats to take the majority in the House and 51 seats in the Senate. Republicans currently hold the majority in both the House and Senate with 237 and 51 seats, respectively.  

So here are what Nebraska voters will be voting for in the upcoming midterm election:

Representative for Congress in District 01, 02 and 03; State Treasurer; Attorney General; United States Senator; Governor and Lt. Governor; Auditor of Public Accounts; Public Service Commissioner of District 01 and 03; Secretary of State; 11 members of the Legislature; State Board of Education; State Board of Regents; Judicial Retention for the Supreme and District Courts; Community College Board of Governors; Learning Community Coordinating Council; Natural Resources District Representatives; Public Power District Representatives, Reclamation District Representatives; Educational Service Unit Representatives; and Initiative Measure 427. 

Initiative Measure 427 states, “A vote ‘FOR’ will amend Nebraska statutes to provide that the state shall amend its Medicaid state plan to expand eligibility for medical assistance to cover certain adults ages 19 through 64 whose incomes are one hundred thirty-eight percent (138%) of the federal poverty level or below as defined by federal law, and to maximize federal financial participation to fund their care.”

This isn’t homecoming court you are voting for. Your vote in the midterm election will have a direct influence on your healthcare, gun reform, student loan policy, LGBTQ rights, Supreme Court nominees and so much more. 

Many people expect to see a huge ‘power shift’ during this election. Many are afraid that the recent push across social media to get especially the younger generation registered to vote will lead to an uneducated election.

Anyone who chooses to follow and vote for candidate, blindly, based solely on political party is an uninformed voter, young or old. It is important to do your research, and make sure the candidate you choose to cast your vote for will represent your values and needs at the local, state and federal levels. 

When you decide not to vote you are making a choice to let other people speak for you, people you may not agree with. Would you let someone speak for you when it comes to your views of sexual assault, LGBTQ rights, gun rights or first amendment rights? No. 

If you are registered to vote, mark your calendars for Nov. 6, find your polling location and go vote. If you are attending CSC far from home, send in your absentee ballot form and vote. Early voting has already begun, there are no more excuses. 

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