Staff Editorial: Informed voting vital in 2016 election

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After over a year of campaigning, the 2016 presidential race is finally coming to an end. Driving through the streets you can still see the remnants of the messy primary season — the occasional Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, a forgotten lawn sign from a long gone candidate. All are reminders of what the country as a whole has been through since the first campaigns were announced early last year as well as what is yet to come.

This highly controversial and inescapable election has left voters with a bad taste in their mouths. Many people are considering casting their vote for a third party candidate or not even casting their vote at all. For many of us, this is the first election we’re able to vote in. Although we aren’t being provided with ideal choices, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to wait another four years to utilize one of the principle foundations of American democracy.

When you make the choice on November 8 to not go to your designated polling place, you’re not only making the decision to not cast your vote for president, but also for local and state lawmakers. These officials make the legislation that immediately affects us and are often forgotten about. Many people often vote for whoever is within their own political party without doing any prior research on the candidate’s policies and voting records. If you’re considering voting for one of the third party candidates, be aware of what you’re doing and what the consequences that it holds.

Do your research. Don’t step into the polling booth and blindly choose your local candidates.  These are things that will not only affect us for the next four years, but have the potential to affect us long term depending on who is elected president. Don’t take your right to political representation for granted.

When President Obama said, “Don’t boo, vote,” at the Democratic National Convention he was telling the truth. If you were extremely outspoken about politics during the primary process and at the start of the general election races and consciously make the decision not to vote, you’re contradicting your previous efforts.

Regardless of if you vote or not, if you vote third party or if you choose between one of the two major candidates, on election day either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is going to be declared the next president. Don’t miss out on your chance to make your decision, because you might end up regretting it when you’re watching the results pour in on the news.

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