Are you registered to vote? Do you plan on voting? Do you even know who your state senator or representative is? If your answer is “No” to any of those questions, don’t feel bad; you’re not alone. Holly Richardson, blogger and former member of the Utah State House of Representatives, says that many students ages eighteen to twenty-five did not vote in the 2014 election; even though they made up 21% of the voting population, only 17% of them actually voted. At a September Civic Engagement event on campus, she spoke of the benefits of voting to the voters, adding her voice to others who’ve spoken on that same topic recently, and the ease with which it can be done.
“Many of the issues being debated are directly related to students, student loans for example,” she said. “Who we vote for…is…who establishes the laws [regarding those loans]. If we want our voices heard, we need to make an effort.” Whether or not we pay any attention to politics, it will affect us. Holly, at the campus event and on her blog HollyOnTheHill.com, provides these tips for easy involvement:
- Start a blog. Holly shared the story of Aimee Winder Newton, who was frustrated that the council members at her City Council Meeting wouldn’t speak to her. She started a blog where she reported the happenings there, and they began speaking to her. Eventually, she was appointed to be the city’s first Communications Director.
- Share your political views on social media. But, be NICE. Political Science professor Richard Davis spoke about that here.
- Follow your state legislators or political parties, particularly when the legislature is in session. She reports that several Utah legislators tweet actively, as well as @UtahReps and @UtahSenate. Follow along by using the hashtag #utpol.
- Check out @UTLEGTracker, an automated Twitter account that will tweet real-time updates of legislative action.
- Follow political blogs like UtahPoliticoHub and 45Politics.
- Check out Senate cloud for all things social media on the Senate side. It’s pretty awesome.
Making a difference in the world doesn’t have to mean running for office or dedicating one’s life to politics. Your difference can simply be your vote, and there are many ways to prepare to vote. The question is: will you vote, and…
How will you prepare?