Opinion: Low voter turnout plagues the country

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Ray Paoletta

Another mid-term election is quickly approaching and most candidates have their efforts focused on voter turnout. There isn’t a shortage of citizens complaining about government; however, voter turnout and voter participation remains at low levels. The people receive the government they ask for.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State website, voter turnout during the 2010 midterm election was 49 percent. The national numbers did not look any better. FairVote.org reported that during the 2010 midterm election voter turnout sat at 42 percent. Those are startling numbers. During most midterm elections both in Ohio and nationally, more than half of voters stay home from the polls.

While people continue to become upset over the actions of members of the government, it is surprising that so few people make it out to vote, especially in midterm elections. Every election is important, whether it is local races and issues, statewide candidates and issues, national government candidates or a presidential election.

For example, during this midterm election in Ohio, there are state senate and state representative races, U.S. representative races and a gubernatorial race all up for grabs during this midterm. Therefore, it becomes important that the majority of voters let their voices be heard and vote. If not, citizens will continue to see government officials who do not represent their constituents.

Lastly, many voters do not think their vote counts. They think one vote doesn’t matter. However, when there are more and more people who think the same way, it adds up to be a large portion of voters who do not vote. Even more surprisingly, in an off year like the 2013 election, the Ohio Secretary of State reported 35 local races and eight local issues were decided by one vote or were tied. Every person’s vote counts.

In the big and small elections it is important for citizens to vote. Ohio voters have been sent absentee ballot request forms along with the available early voting hours. The resources are there for voters to turnout in Ohio and the country as a whole, and with close races on every level, it is important to get out and vote.