McWilliams: Students should register to vote

Leta McWilliams

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Since the beginning of the semester, different groups have been setting up around campus encouraging students to register to vote.

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Since my first opportunity to vote since coming to Colorado State University, I changed my address so I would be able to make my voice heard in Fort Collins. Registering to vote is an integral part American citizenship, and not voting is to disregard the freedoms we take for granted.

Even if the policies don’t directly affect you, everything on the ballot will have some sort of impact. No matter what cultural, economic or ethnic background someone comes from, the policies lawmakers propose will affect you. Propositions regarding the environment affect everyone. Propositions regarding healthcare affect everyone. Propositions regarding taxes affect everyone.

Whether or not people choose to acknowledge it, everything we vote on affects everyone, and to say it doesn’t is to wear your ignorance proudly.

My colleague Ethan Vassar argues that he doesn’t need to register to vote because his rights won’t wavered. As he points out, Vassar is a straight White male, and his rights have been the same since the beginning of time, so there’s no need for him to add his voice.

He also argues that he’s never experienced what minority groups have experienced, so he has no right to vote on issues that directly affect them. While I can see Vassar’s point, it shows a lack of empathy. His argument about abortion, being that he is a male and will never be in a situation where he has an abortion, is valid. However, he should have some sort of opinion because this issue still affects the women in his life.

Voting is a civic right that many other countries don’t offer to their citizens. Regardless of a person’s political views, America is based on freedom and the ability to participate in a democratic society. Not voting means you don’t care about these rights and freedoms, and you’re blowing off a privilege that we are so lucky to have.

Registration is the first step. After that, it’s up to you to do the research and decide what matters and what to vote for. There should be more accessible resources for students to find groups that align with their political views. Building communities and encouraging students to participate with groups that align with their political views would help push students to take advantage of their civic duty.

College teaches us to have a voice, and voting applies these lessons to the real world. It is every citizen’s responsibility to vote, and not to take our freedoms for granted. A voting citizen is an American citizen. By not voting, you’re throwing away an opportunity that so many don’t have and for which so many continue to fight.

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams.