Opinion: This election matters

Ryan McCarthy is a sophomore political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Ryan McCarthy

We’re still two years away from the next presidential election, but midterms are in less than a month, and voting begins Wednesday. Tuesday was the deadline for voter registration, and as a political science major helping get registrations, I’ve heard some scary things in the past month. Many people don’t care that there is an election coming up, and some don’t even know. 

We may not be voting on who will be the leader of the free world this November, but there are three branches that make up the federal government, and we will be voting extensively for one of them. Every two years, all 435 members of the United States House of Representatives are up for election, including Speaker of the House John Boehner. Currently, congress has an approval rating of just 14% according to Gallop, but despite this incredibly low level of support, little will change as Republicans will retain the House, and Democrats will likely maintain the Senate. This stationary House has a lot to do with the heavy gerrymandering in the redistricting after the 2010 census, but a lot has to do with the apathy of the population toward public affairs. Despite their disinterest, politics will always affect them.

Aside from elections at the national level, this is an important year for state politics in Ohio. It’s far from the level of grandeur that comes with presidential races, but it still determines many aspects of regular life. States possess more power than people realize, and this year we have an important gubernatorial race, as well as statewide elections to the Ohio House and Senate. The people who are elected this fall will have powers influencing economic factors such as tax rates and collective bargaining, as well as social issues like gay marriage and women’s rights.

There may be importance of it being the season of the NFL and college football, but it’s impertinent that everyone should take some of the energy spent screaming at televisions and direct it toward getting to the voting booth by November 4th. You can fancy yourself above voting and against government, but that merely removes you as an obstacle because the government will still operate without your participation, and the corruption you claim to be so vehemently against will be allowed to thrive. There are three branches of government with separate powers that are checked and balanced by each other. This is election is almost, if not just as, as important as a presidential election, and your vote counts.