Local Elections Matter

Greg Schweizer | Op-Ed Submission

In a political era where Sarah Palin rallies crowds of Tea Party activists and President Obama signs treaties to reduce nuclear arms worldwide, Saint Louis politics may seem trivial at best. However, I’d like to urge everyone on this campus to take a minute and think about how important local elections really are – and then take some action.

Whether our neighbors like it or not, we are all just as much citizens of the area as they are. We have wants, desires, and concerns, and our voices deserve to be heard in the Statehouse just as much as theirs do. We spend plenty of time bemoaning local political actions: from the University City zero-tolerance policy to decreases in state-offered student financial aid to “saving the Metro,” but all too often we never get registered or don’t turn out for local elections. Without our vote, why do we expect any of the politicians to feel obliged to represent our interests?

So, I have a proposal. To those of you who haven’t registered to vote, go down to the Gephardt institute in Umrath Hall before you go home for the summer and get registered — or at least plan to do so when you get back. There is a big, crowded, and important primary election in St. Louis on August 3rd in which a number of candidates are vying to represent our interests. Most of them are likely planning to ignore us because we never turn out to vote, but we can change that by being a powerful force in this election. Because many of these districts are solidly Democratic, the primary is the election that actually means something because it picks the candidate who will ultimately win in November – and that means we should be paying attention and making our voices heard. If you want a voice in Jefferson City to advocate for students – make a difference by casting your vote.

If you’re already registered or if you go get registered today, then I urge you to apply for and fill out an absentee ballot and send it back in over the summer for the August 3rd primary. Check out the candidates online, ask the College Democrats and Republicans about who is running where, and make an informed choice so that all of our students will benefit from politicians who are beholden to our votes and our needs.

Elections matter. Don’t let this one slip by without your voice being heard.

Greg Schweizer is a Junior in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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