By: HOPE FOWLER
As multiple imperative elections in our area and country arise, it is more important than ever for individuals to participate in their social responsibility of voting. Voting isn’t only a civic duty, but it’s an opportunity to voice your opinion. Voters get the chance to tell the democracy what they want. Individual votes hold those elected accountable for their actions.
Elizabeth Bennion, Ph.D, leader of IU South Bend’s American Democracy Project (ADP) works to increase the knowledge of the significance of voting. The ADP was installed at IU South Bend as a chance to not only educate and communicate with the city, but most importantly with the students and faculty of IU South Bend. The mission of ADP is to get people excited and engaged with the democracy we live in.
Millennial and post-millennial voters are now the largest block of voters in the electorate. Unfortunately, it has been proven by previous elections that they vote at lower levels than older Americans.
“If young people want their voices to be heard, they must vote. Once young people develop a habit of voting – and the identity of a voter – they are more likely to stay politically engaged throughout their lifetime” explained Bennion.
For those who say they don’t know enough to vote, Bennion encourages you to use the resources provided through the American Democracy Project at IU South Bend. “We host Meet the Candidates forums featuring all candidates on the ballot. We host live candidate debates for contested local, state, and national contests.”
Many millennials report to finding the political culture boring or uninteresting. While sometimes, within some topics, it can be, the issues are still relevant to how we live. Bennion acknowledges and gives wisdom for this problem.
“I recognize that some young people are disgusted by the political scene. They don’t feel as if their votes will make a difference. I would advise them that they will not change political institutions or public policies sitting on the sidelines.”
Bennion continues, “they should work to nominate, support, and vote for candidates who will promote the large scale institutional changes they support.”
How society votes determines numerous aspects of daily life and culture.
“We the People must actually ensure that we have ‘rule of the many’ rather than ‘rule of the few’. The only way for all voices and interests to be represented is for people to vote” added Bennion.
The crucial upcoming election day is November 3, 2019.
To ensure you are registered to vote, visit https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote. Follow the link and take action!