Voting is one of the most important rights United States citizens can exercise. Years of blood, sweat and tears were sacrificed in order to make everyone’s voice heard in how our country is run. It is the fundamental part of our democracy. The amazing thing is that nobody can force anyone to vote, however it is extremely important when deciding how our country will be run.
Aiden Tariku, Vice President of Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU), talks about the importance of voting in college. Tariku has always been passionate about student leadership and the difference students can make in our democracy. Tariku has been involved in student government since his freshman year at Southridge High School where he was elected class president. Ever since then, Tariku has been focused on being involved in making a change in how student voices are heard by being involved through ASOSU. When talking about why voting is important, Tariku said; “When people turn out to vote, we see that representatives are selected whose policies are more encompassing of our demands and needs.” He then explained how when we turn out to vote and engage civically, our representatives are ones who are representative of the people they were elected to serve.
Practicing your right to vote is so important, but it can be overwhelming. How do you know who to vote for? The right to vote can be confusing when trying to determine your own opinions of who to vote for when there are so many people and groups around you trying to encourage you to vote for their candidate. One step is to listen to what these groups have to say about their candidate. Find out why their candidate is the “best one” and determine if your values align with theirs. You can also decide who to vote for is by researching the candidates. This can include watching their debates, viewing their website and find out who supports the candidate. You can also visit these websites to find out more about certain candidates and how to research them.
When deciding on who to vote for, you want to choose someone who will fight for what you believe in and has similar values to you. There are so many options when it comes to voting, but by taking the time to research, you can find the right candidate for you and make sure that your values will be represented in our nation.
So how do you know? Fortunately, Oregon is one of the easiest states to vote in. First, you have to be registered to vote in Oregon. Voting registration for the upcoming election has closed, however it is very easy to register, as it is an online form, so make sure to do so by the next election if you haven’t already. Next, you get your ballot in the mail and fill it out. Lastly, you either mail in your ballot or drop it off at any numerous places that accept ballots. Near campus, you can drop off your ballot at; The Valley Library, Corvallis Public Library, Benton County Courthouse, Linn-Benton Community College or the Senior Citizen Center. To find out where these are located and more information about how to vote, visit http://www.orstudents.org/dropbox/
If you still have any questions about voting, please reach out. Voting is such an important right we are fortunate to have and we want everyone’s voice to be heard. Reach out to ASOSU or the Oregon Student Association, they are more than happy to help anyone exercise this right. ASOSU also hosts a voter education event called “Get Out the Vote” which is currently in full swing. “We hand out educational flyers, we phonebank reminding people when and where to vote and give class and group raps to explain the voting process and the measures we will be voting on this election [completely nonpartisan],” Lacey Prososki said, Media and Publicity Coordinator of Vote OR Vote campaign. To find out more about this campaign, please visit http://www.orstudents.org/vote-or-vote/
Just a little bit of your time can open new and valuable opportunities for your voice to be heard. Midterm elections are coming up on Nov. 6, so make sure you research candidates and turn in your ballot so you can make a difference.