Nothing’s scarier than voter’s apathy

By Oona Goodin-Smith

Rubber bats and synthetic spider webs dangle from doorways as the squirrels have begun their yearly assault on porch jack-o-lanterns and flocks of the fearless venture to haunted houses. 

The Halloween scare is in the air, and this week, Oakland University students have the opportunity to make perhaps one of the most scary choices of all: the decision not to vote in the midterm election on November 4.

Sure, it’s easy not to care, easy to lay your overscheduled mid-semester’s full hand on the table and play the apathetic card. It’s easy to remain passive, to lie down and let the constant barrage of political messages wash over you as you let the midterm election pass. It’s easy not to vote. 

In fact, according to Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), in the 2010 midterm election, only an estimated 24 percent of all eligible young people ages 18 to 29 voted. 76 percent took the easy route. 

Perhaps more startling, in the past election, the rate of young people with college degrees “saw the greatest decline in voting rates compared to their counterparts with less education in 2010” as voter turnout dropped from 41 percent in 2006 to 37.4 percent, according to CIRCLE.

Citing “too busy, conflicting work” as the top excuse given by young college non-voters, the site suggests that electing local officials simply isn’t a major consideration in the lives of many busy college students.

“I think it’s just a time thing. I haven’t actually looked into local elections and who’s running and what they’re running for, I think it’s been so busy with my own life,” said Oakland business senior Mindy Cao, echoing the concerns of many.

 Understandable? Yes. Acceptable? No. 

 While, according to thinkprogress.org, 80 percent of U.S. college students often must balance an average 12 hours of courses with around 19 hours of work each week, not to mention social lives and the occasional time to sleep, leaving little time for anything else, the decisions made or not made at next Tuesday’s polls will affect our lives for the next four years, and perhaps, alter history forever. 

With campaign platforms focusing heavily on education spending, healthcare, and the job market, it is our generation at stake on Tuesday’s ballots. 

Thus, we at The Oakland Post urge all of OU to participate in the upcoming midterm election and, to borrow from our own student congress, “let your voice be heard.”  

We’re not telling you how to vote; as an objective media source that’s not our job. We’re simply telling you to vote, to educate yourself (perhaps even using our election guide on page 12), and to have a say in your future as a citizen of the state and country. It’s your right and civic duty as an American citizen.

In the words of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Don’t deprive yourself of choice this voting season, OU. After all, nothing’s more scary than apathy.

 

 

Contact Editor-in-Chief Oona Goodin-Smith at [email protected]