Today: Jun 17, 2024

Local election approaches, student opinions on voting

Miah Green – Contributor

Students are finding the strength in their political voices, advocating their opinions as the date for voting in local elections approaches. 

On Nov. 7, Connecticut will be holding local elections, according to the Secretary of the State website. Citizens will be able to vote in their town for a running candidate as mayor. It is not guaranteed that positive changes promised to the town will happen, but voters can be engaged and ensure their voice is being heard. 

“Personally, I feel that elections are heavily overlooked, and more people should be paying attention to them,” said Mahagany Rawls. “As people living in this city or state or country, who we choose to put into power is crucial for our wellbeing and we can’t afford to have someone who doesn’t care about us, leading us.” 

Political science major Mahagany Rawls, a senior,  explained that generally, a lot of people mainly focus their attention on presidential elections for their standards to be met, completely dismissing the importance of voting for the candidates that are in control of our area. 

“They don’t realize that a lot of the action in politics happens closer to home,” said Rawls. 

 Associate Professor of Political Science and Internship Coordinator Jonathan Wharton said local elections tend to have lower voting percentages than presidential elections. 

“Unfortunately, at the local level, few Americans do it and fewer, in younger people,” said Wharton. 

According to the latest of years posted by the Secretary of the State, the voter turnout in Connecticut for local elections in November 2021 was approximately 32 percent. Prior to that year, the voter turnout for presidential elections in November 2020 was approximately 80 percent, each election occurring concurrently. 

“Voters should at least recognize or pay attention to what mayors or candidates are suggesting,” Wharton said when asked about tips for how to vote. “Policing, education, economic development – those are usually the big three that are mentioned at local levels.” 

To vote for any election in Connecticut, you would have to meet the following requirements: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen 
  • Must have completed confinement if you were convicted of a felony 
  • Must be 18 years old or older on or before Election Day 
  • Are registered to vote by your town’s voter registration deadline 

Once you meet all the requirements, you can look into how to vote in your town, which can be: in-person on election day, by mail, or even an absentee ballot. 

“I plan to vote now that I am of age, and I think that presidential elections and local elections are of equal importance,” said Graham, whose hometown is Harwood, Maryland. “As much as the president has an impact on a broad scale, small elections impact my direct community as much, if not more, than a presidential election.” 

When asked about her decision in voting, Rawls stated that her vote for local elections will be in her hometown, New Haven. 

“My advice to new voters is do research before you make your decision,” says Rawls. “Look into the background of each candidate as far as politics and their stance on issues and weigh out the good and bad qualities of each candidate.” 

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