Staff Editorial: Go vote: a lesson the smoking ban taught us

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Illustration by Elizabeth Spooner

This is an election year. Across the nation, candidates are fighting over who will run for president. More locally, a myriad of other elections are taking place, at the state level and at the college level. It may not seem like much, but all students should care about Student Senate elections.

Some may think that they are not involved on campus enough or not around campus enough to justify taking an interest in Student Senate. Maybe those people think that student senators don’t do anything very important in the grand scheme of things. Maybe those people need to be reminded of the smoking ban.

The smoking ban was an initiative of the Student Senate last year. After carrying out surveys to gauge community reactions to a campus-wide smoking ban, the Student Senate informed the Board of Trustees, who instituted it. As a result, no smoking is allowed on campus unless in cars or in designated smoking huts near the ITC building.

There is outrage about it now: petitions going around, community members finding ways of circumventing the ban, allegations that the ban is not enforced. Too little, too late. Where were all the naysayers when the ban was being discussed? Where were their voices when they could have changed things?

Student Senate matters because, as the smoking ban has shown, its decisions can affect the lives of everyone on campus. That is exactly why you should vote. The same goes for local and national elections. They all have the power to affect your life, so why aren’t you caring?

Voting goes hand in hand with democracy; the more people use their voice in a meaningful manner, the better. In the “Chick-Fil-A: anti-gay?” article in Volume 34, Issue 12 of the Campus Ledger, student Arianna Poland said that she would take her fight to the polls. That is exactly what they are there for: for you to fight for your views in a place where they can actually matter.

Think about it. Only a figurative handful of people have the power to make decisions that can alter a community’s life – be it a college, a town, a city, a state or a country. But those people have to get there somehow – and that “somehow” is you. Your vote, your voice, your endorsement of why they are there. There may be flaws in the electoral system, but your voice still counts, for both small and big elections.

So go vote. Student senate polls will be open today until 11:59 p.m. online and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the COM building. If you’ve already missed it, you have a whole lot of other elections where you can make your vote count.

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