A call for higher voter turnout

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

The importance of midterm elections and the many ways that make it easy for people to vote, whether they are in their hometown or not, leaves little excuse for there being low voter turnout.

Students, and ultimately all registered voters, should take a more active role in voting in midterm elections and all elections.

In the 2014 midterm elections, 3,846 absentee ballots had been sent out when The Daily Illini spoke with Gordy Hulten. Hulten said the numbers are progressively getting larger. While that number does not include the students who are registered and voted in Champaign County, the number of voters should still be much higher.

It’s easy to think that whoever wins an election does not directly and immediately impact a single individual’s life, but when you peel back the layers of what our government officials do, it is clear that we are impacted by election outcomes.

As our Editorial Board previously mentioned, the Illinois governors race directly impacts the University since one of the roles of the governor of Illinois is to appoint the nine members of the University’s Board of Trustees, six of whom will be up for reappointment during the future governor’s next term. 

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When the trustees approve things such as the annual budget, the price of tuition and fees, and who the next president of the University of Illinois is, it’s something students should care about.

Some people choose not to vote because they are not informed, but it is essential that people make an effort to educate themselves on candidates so they can make a well-informed choice.

Sure, looking up information about candidates and learning about their missions and beliefs does not sound like the most exciting way to spend our already limited time, but one must realize how candidates proposed policies matter in our lives.

Citizens do not have many excuses to not vote. This year in Champaign County, Brookens Administrative Center offered same-day voter registration for the first time, which was only effective for the 2014 midterm elections.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization even coordinated rides from the University YMCA to Brookens Administrative Center from 9 a.m. to around 7 p.m. on Nov. 4. The Illini Hillel Cohen Center also transported students to vote starting at 11 a.m.

In the end, voters can and should find a way to vote. Between absentee voting, same day registration and many resources with information on candidates’ stances, it is possible for voters to make informed choices. We need to increase voter turnout to take advantage of our opportunity to elect officials who can, and do, have great influences on our lives.