Students should vote in local elections

City Council politics influence life in Pullman

One+of+the+most+important+rights+we+have+is+voting.+Are+Cougs+exercising+it%3F

KESTRA ENGSTROM

One of the most important rights we have is voting. Are Cougs exercising it?

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen reporter, columnist

One of the best things about this country is our right to vote. We get to choose our leaders, our representatives and the policies of our local areas. It is an important gift in our society.
However, not everyone exercises this right. It is why every election we get advertisement after advertisement about voting and why it is necessary for our voices to be heard. Voting is the outlet for citizens’ voices.
But not everyone in our age group recognizes that importance. Some do not vote because they do not care, it is inconvenient or they do not understand the impact their vote has.
On Tuesday, there was an election held with local issues and candidates on the ballot. One of these issues was regarding increasing sales tax for improving emergency communications.
There was also voting for City Council members in the City of Pullman. These members are meant to represent the interests of the city and its people, which includes us Cougs.
While it is possible to establish residency here as a student to vote in the election, some students opt to still vote in their home county.
Even though we do not live in this county year round and we most likely will not establish a permanent residence in Pullman, its elections can still impact us.
Joshua Dohring, senior civil engineering major, is a registered voter but does not vote in Whitman County. He also is not aware of Whitman County issues but agrees it is important for students to pay attention to them.
“I’ve been here for four years. It probably makes sense to pay attention to what’s going on because that’s a big portion of my life so far,” he said. “Even though it’s not something I’ve done, it probably would be important.”
When considering the importance of voting, Dohring said he believes the results get skewed toward older populations because of a lower turnout of younger voters.
“So if we want our voice to be heard, we need to actually show up and vote in the same percentages that older populations show up to vote,” he said.
As I said, people our age do not always understand why it is important to vote. For the majority of us, we just reached the age where we are allowed this right. It takes outreach to inform new voters about why we need to exercise our voices.
Melanie Bell, English literature graduate student, is a registered voter and also votes in Whitman County. Having recently moved to Pullman, she said she is semi-aware of the issues of the county.
Bell said she chose to vote in this county because she will be here for a while. To her, it is important to be aware of what is going on in her community even if she is not planning on permanently residing in Pullman.
“I think every vote makes a difference, and every community has something that it could work on,” Bell said. “So I think voting in the place that you’re currently living in is just something that can help both you and everyone around you.”
Bell said she also believes in the importance of voting in general, that trying to make a difference is important because one’s voice is heard, and it is our right as citizens to make choices for ourselves.
I agree that it is important to vote on the issues where you live even if your residence is only temporary.
For me, I am going to be here for the next two years. It makes sense to vote in Pullman’s election as opposed to the election where I am from because I live in Pullman most of the year.
But not everyone is going to feel that way. Some are not interested in voting in a county that they will only live in for a couple of years.
When this county has another election, although, it might be worth looking at the issues.
No matter where you are registered to vote, it is important to make your voice heard. We can influence a lot of things through this right. All it takes is for us to be informed and to vote when we are able to.