LETTER: No matter how many people are running, you should vote

Disinterest in voting for less competitive elections only influences a cycle of apathy, withdrawing students from engaging with student government

op-ivotedsticker-courtesywikimediacommons

While many of the races this election season have few candidates, it is still imperative to vote in this election cycle as it is any.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The Spring 2019 University-wide elections is running now until March 1, 4 p.m. In recent years, voting has been viewed as an important duty among many American citizens, yet these efforts did not translate to last year’s University-wide election. Only 18.77 percent of University students voted in last year’s Student Council presidential election, with three candidates running. While many of the elections on the ballot are uncontested or not competitive, there still needs to be an increase in student voter turnout this year. 

As it has been noted earlier this election season, voting in student elections is incredibly easy. Students receive three emails over the course of elections with the link to vote. In addition to that, the voting link is posted to www.uvavote.com, and there are various polling stations located on Grounds throughout the week. Given the accessibility of elections in addition to constant reminders throughout the week, not voting in student elections is making an active choice to not engage with student government. 

While many of the races this election season have few candidates, it is still imperative to vote in this election cycle as it is any. Regarding these elections as unimportant regards all elections for student government as unimportant. Choosing to engage with student government when there is a tense referenda proposal to the single sanction for the Honor Committee does not matter if students are ignorant to what student government is doing during the other 10 months out of the year. University students need to engage with student government even if it is at the basic level of reading reports and voting for representatives. Difference is truly made when students are swift and attentive to University-wide changes

Choosing to not vote in student elections sends a message to future University students that it is acceptable not to care about student government. While this cycle of apathy may fluctuate given the election season, to entertain this mindset makes it harder for future years to engage with student government when it “actually matters.” It is your voice, your U.Va. Engaging with student government is imperative to the University’s success.

Alex Smith-Scales is a fourth-year in the College and serves as the Chair for the University Board of Elections.

related stories