It is time for the midterm elections on Tuesday and registered voters must head out to have their voices heard.
Voters will often refrain from heading to the polls in years where there is no presidential election. According to the Pew Research Center, 37 percent of the voting-age population actually voted in the 2010-midterm elections. Compare that to the 2012 elections where President Barack Obama was re-elected and 54 percent of the voting-age population voted.
This is not just a problem that has come about in recent years either. Pew Research tracks back to 1948 where the presidential election had a 51 percent turnout. The following midterm elections had a 41 percent turnout rate.
Some voters may not think their votes mean much, but midterms are the time to elect national lawmakers to Congress. We may not be electing a senator this year, but there are 27 races for seats in the House of Representatives. Even if you are not voting in Oswego County there is a race for a seat in Washington D.C. for wherever you are registered to vote. The governorship is also on the ballot, along with the attorney general and state comptroller.
Not to mention, some state legislators are up for election across the state. There are also three propositions on the ballot for New York voters. The first one is to revise the state’s redistricting procedure, something meant to avoid gerrymandering. At first glance, voters may think this sounds like a good idea, but the major difference is the redistricting goes to a third party panel hand picked by both parties. If legislators do not like the lines drawn at the end of the process, then they can draw them on their own, basically bringing things back to how they are now. The second proposal aims to allow legislators to distribute bills electronically. The current state regulations require bills to be printed before they can be voted on. The third proposal would provide about $2 billion in borrowed funds to provide for schools. This would allow the state to provide new technology in classrooms across the state.
There are plenty of reasons to get out and vote on Tuesday. If you want your voice heard, do not wait until the next presidential election to do so. Do some research on the races, proposals and candidates, and get out there and vote.