Vassar: Why it’s not essential to register to vote

Ethan Vassar

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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Many would argue that to be a good citizen or a good American, I should be participating in government by voting for a governor, senator, and policies that represent me and my views.

Currently, my views are already heavily represented. As a straight White middle-class male, I identify with the majority of our elected officials. Over 70 percent of elected Republicans and 60 percent of elected Democrats are White men. Any vote I cast would just be redundant. In fact, White men are already immensely overrepresented, only making up 31 percent of the population.

My vote would dilute the pool, muffling the voices of those minorities who desperately need to be heard.

While I could align my vote with those who are underrepresented in government, I am extremely unqualified to vote on their behalf. I am generally unaffected and entirely separate from many of the issues marginalized populations would like to see the government address and ultimately find solutions to.

Take abortion as an example, a topic that has been in the government’s rear-view mirror since the seventies. This gigantic elephant in the room is certainly an issue that needs addressing. As a man with no children — that I know of — my opinion should not have as much merit. The issue currently does not affect me, therefore my opinion on the matter should remain moot.

Similar to how it’s my apparent civic duty to participate in government by voting, I am expected to exercise my right to vote simply because I can. Simply because “you can” is never a good reason to do anything.

Based off the Bill of Rights, I also have rights to bear arms and assemble among a myriad of other privileges, but simply because I can is not enticing enough.

Perhaps the most compelling reason why I do not feel the need to vote stems from the fact that, for the entire history of this country, my rights have remained pretty much the same. The only times in the history of the United States where men’s right have been restricted occurred after the Civil War when the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, something we all can agree should not have been a right in the first place.

Besides a few instances, my rights as a straight White middle-class male have remained the same, and will remain the same for the foreseeable future. With this, there are no rights I, or any other straight White middle-class male, feel the government denies me; no rights that the government needs to do a better job of enforcing for me; and no rights that others have which I don’t.

Although my colleague McWilliams would have you believe that it’s your civic duty to use your voice to help those who are feel marginalized, it’s really okay to not care about politics. Additionally, there are a plethora of other ways you can assist minorities and marginalized groups without voting. The government isn’t going anywhere, and you aren’t missing out on much. 

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Ethan Vassar can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on twitter @ethan_vassar