Why Our Votes Matter in the Midterm Election

Students Nelson Washington and Blake Zeitler registering voters at Millsaps College. Photo Courtesy of Nathan Shrader.

Jenna Gibson

Managing Editor

 

One hundred and twenty-eight Millsaps students, using their college address, registered to vote over the past few weeks with the help of the Millsaps’ Politics and Government Club. This is all in preparation for Nov. 6, when voting for the midterm general election will take place.

Voters will be casting their ballots for the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate, as well as other local positions.

In past elections, young adults aged 18-29 have been classified as having the lowest voter turnout. According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, the 2016 presidential election was prime evidence of this, with 70.9 percent of voters being 65 years or older and only 46.9 percent of voters being 18 to 29 years of age. The U.S. Census Bureau also reported that although young voters had the lowest turnout, the percentage of turnout increased since the 2012 election was higher than every other age bracket.

“The segment of the electorate that is the least likely to vote are those 18-35 years of age. This is a travesty because this means that they are the least likely to get results they want from the political process,” said Nathan Shrader, an assistant professor of Political Science and the Co-Chair of the Political Science Department at Millsaps.

“My message to young voters—especially college students—is that if they don’t vote, they are allowing others who may not want the same outcomes to make decisions on their behalf. I saw a bumper sticker a few weeks ago that said ‘Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.’ Nothing could be more accurate from my perspective,” said Shrader.

In response to the many political controversies that have recently arisen, the voter turnout of young adults, more specifically college students, is expected to increase as Nov. 6 nears.

Using social media, many celebrities like Taylor Swift used their popularity to inspire young adults to become more educated about the candidates in their state and go out and vote in the upcoming election as well.

“Mississippi is facing such a historical senatorial race. We as Mississippians have the opportunity to elect not only one, but two of our state senator officials in one election, which is extremely rare,” said Jake Tipton, a junior political science major.

“And as Mississippi continues to grow into a more productive state, students will be on the front lines of this change, and that all begins with who we elect to represent our state. I personally believe this could be a pivotal moment in Mississippi history, and it’s up to students such as you and I to recognize this historical moment and act upon it, instead of just sitting aside and letting officials get elected who might not have our best interests at heart,” said Tipton.

Although not the presidential election, the midterm election holds great importance both on local and state levels.

“Elections are incredibly important nationwide this November. With the senate being just a 51-49 majority for the Republicans, and the House having over 40 seats that can flip towards the Democratic party, these elections have the potential to change the course of our nation,” said Millsaps Democracy Fellow Brandon Beck.

“In Mississippi specifically, both Senate seats are up for grabs. One seat is held by incumbent Roger Wicker, and the other seat is currently held by Cindy Hyde-Smith. It’s so important to vote because whoever wins these elections will be either a staple red vote or a new Democratic vote, which will totally shake up the way things are going now. Votes are just as important for these elections as they are for the presidential elections, and that’s because they essentially determine what the president can do nowadays.”

The closest polling places near the Millsaps campus are the Good Samaritan Center in Midtown and the Eudora Welty Library. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.

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