The Oak Leaf

Democracy is dying, unless the youth vote

Web Editor, Brandon McCapes

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Yep, we’re telling young people to vote.

If you’re reading this article right now, stop and register to vote. Right now. Go to this website and take five minutes to register to vote. Today is the deadline.

But try to focus less on elected officials. In California and at the local level, voters have the power to make change. Clear the hurdle of registration so you have the option to take advantage of your enfranchisement.

Today is California’s 2018 voter registration deadline, and nothing can excuse not voting, especially if you’re a young person in Sonoma County.

Yeah, yeah. We all know how useless a single Californian vote may seem in a federal election. Because of the outdated-yet-unchangeable Electoral College, which gives voting power disproportionately to state’s populations, Californians, as citizens of the most populous state, have the lowest power per vote.

Nation be damned.

You have more power at the state level, but still, due to California’s persistence as a blue state, and gerrymandering aside, it’s unlikely your vote will affect who’s going to the State Capitol or Capitol Hill. The state legislature will probably retain a Democratic supermajority and our Senators and the majority of our Representatives will be Democrats.

If you vote red or blue, your vote can seem meaningless. Ballots decide more than the affiliation of elected officials. In our state, as has always been true in local jurisdictions, citizens can vote directly on legislation—a responsibility we must own. Propositions on the statewide ballot this year include funding for affordable housing, mental health services, infrastructure spending, rent control and literally what time it is (daylight savings).

Forget about California, too.

Your vote has more weight here than anywhere else and your local governments will not represent your interests if you do not participate in democracy. Sonoma County is aging as young people flee housing insecurity and high cost of living.

Young people are notorious apathetic towards politics—local politics especially. Who wants to educate themselves on Rincon Valley School Board candidates if they don’t have children in the district and don’t plan on living here? So don’t vote in those categories.

But vote for Sonoma County board of supervisors, city council members and board of trustees for Santa Rosa Junior College. Not to mention local measures you vote on directly like propositions. At the county and municipal level more than anything, your vote counts and the results of elections affect you.

If you don’t vote and encourage your friends to do the same, you have no right to complain when policies affect you negatively. Get off your asses, Bear Cubs. Or just close the PornHub window and register.

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Democracy is dying, unless the youth vote