Opinion: If you don’t know, don’t vote

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson is a senior architecture major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

I got my absentee ballot last week, and I opened it quickly, excited to perform my civic duty and give my input on a presidential election for the first time. After sifting through the thick stack, I got to my ballot.

At first glance, I couldn’t even find the list of presidential candidates. Instead, the pages were filled with levies and issues pertinent to my small hometown. A little bit further down, there were options for our county commissioner, state representatives, senators and governor. Crap. Clearly, I needed to do more research before making a judgment call on so many issues that I wasn’t informed about.

Luckily, I have my mostly impartial father to discuss each option with, and my mother, who balanced his opinions out. For those who do not have an anal retentive parent with strong ties to the government, there are debates, completely unbiased news programs and the beacon of truth: the Internet. Now, even if you have no access to technology, or no opportunity to research via an electronic method, there are always good old-fashioned informational pamphlets.

If you choose not to utilize any of the many resources available to educate yourself on the topics up for vote, please, shred your voter registration card, cross your name off the list at the polls, step away from the voting booth and please do not vote.

I know many people will say a single vote won’t help or hurt any given major issue. You know what? That’s true. My vote, as much as I like to think it would, will not decide the presidency. But there are plenty of local issues that do in fact need educated voters dedicated to their cause; I have seen a levy passed by only a handful of votes.

On a larger scale, you are contributing, either one way or another, to who will lead our country for the upcoming years. Don’t you want to understand what you might be getting yourself and others into? Unfortunately, many people in the student population get by with the idea that they are young, that the outcome of the election will not affect them directly and that they don’t care about politics because neither candidate is ideal.

Well, my friends, suck it up and go look up some of the issues, and not just the side endorsed by the party you affiliate with. This isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, but we, the college students in their early twenties and late teens, will be greatly underrepresented next week, and we are the members of the voting-eligible population who have the most at stake.

If you don’t have time, or don’t care, don’t go near a ballot, and let those who do want a say in the future of our government have a voice instead. It’s time to be an adult, so please vote responsibly.