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Make your voice heard in midterms

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141,619,296 — the number of ballots cast in the 2016 Presidential Election.

That massive number may seem impressive. However, it’s only equivalent to 60.2% of voting age citizens. Voter turnout has improved since the 2012 elections (58.6%), but it’s disheartening to think that nearly 4 in 10 eligible Americans chose not to engage.

“Voting is important because governments on all levels make decisions that significantly impact your life, the lives of your family, friends and neighbors, and the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said US History teacher Aaron Shulow.

To educate the newly eligible class of 2019, Shulow’s Government and Citizenship elective encourages political involvement and deeper understanding of what it means to submit your ballot.

“Students have learned about theories of representation, the institutions of the American government, who is in their government, who wants to be in their government and campaign platforms. Students have also learned about turnout rates, registering, reasons people give for not voting, disenfranchisement, and polls and projected turnout for this election,” he said.

Student clubs such as Students for Social Justice (SSJ) have also joined the cause and spent the summer and first quarter of the 2018-19 school year registering voters. With Ishwari Rajak, the Development and Communications Manager of League of Women Voters, as a mentor, SSJ registered voters throughout St. Paul Academy and Summit School and at city-wide events such as the Minneapolis Pride Parade and rallies at the Capitol in order to make registration accessible to the Twin Cities.

Even after registering, voting can seem intimidating. Young voters, especially, can feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information on their ballot— but these anxieties can be fixed with a little research.

Voting is important because governments on all levels make decisions that significantly impact your life, the lives of your family, friends and neighbors, and the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

— Aaron Shulow

“The Minnesota Secretary of State’s website has a page that shows voters what their ballot will look like. Students can learn about candidates from campaign websites, candidate profiles on websites for MPR and the Star Tribune, and information on local races in St. Paul and surrounding areas can be found in The Villager,” said Shulow.

Minnesota rallied in the 2016 election with a voter turnout of 74.8%– the highest of any state.

Midterm elections are on Nov. 6. Make your voice heard by registering to vote here.

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About the Contributor
Isabel Gisser, Production Manager

Isabel Gisser is the Production Manager of RubicOnline. This is her third year on staff. Gisser appreciates journalism for its ability to express the voice...

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