Importance of student engagement in local elections

The city of Keene is broken down into five different wards. More specifically to us students, it is important to know that Keene State College is part of ward one.

As college-aged students, most if not all of us are 18 years old or older.

This makes us of legal voting age. Oftentimes when students hear talk about local elections and particular wards, they’re likely to tune things out.

The Equinox believes instead of tuning out, we need to start paying closer attention to this talk.

If ward one doesn’t vote, it’s up to the other four wards to make decisions for us.

George amaru / art director

George amaru / art director

This is something the Equinox feels strongly about. We believe that we deserve a say in what goes on where we live, work and go to school.

This vote has a chance to count more than other votes. This is not to say that our votes don’t matter come presidential election time, but these votes have more weight, as not as many people participate

We want to urge students to vote in local elections. If we fail to do so, we end up with other wards making decisions about things that directly affect us. Since many of us are from different states or different areas of New Hampshire, we may not entirely consider Keene to be our home. We would like to suggest a different way of thinking.

Picture it this way: for most students, Keene is our place of residency for nearly nine months out of the year.

Although when we think “home” we probably imagine being back where we grew up with our siblings, parents and childhood friends, we need to realize that for the time being Keene is our home and we need to treat it as such.

One way in which local elections are especially relevant to us is in the fact that a prominent member of the college is running as city councilor of Keene. That person is Vice President for Finance and Planning Jay Kahn.

Many of us on campus know Jay Kahn and who he is. This is not to say that we should only pay attention because we know Jay Kahn, however, if it’s his name that grabs our attention and forces us to start engaging, that’s a start.

This is not to urge students to vote for someone just because they were a part of our college, but it is important to note that we should start paying attention.

College students are a huge part of the community, whether we realize it or not. Students tend to vote the least in local elections not realizing that who and what they vote on will directly affect them unlike national elections which could take years to impact them..

We think there is importance in educating students about why you should vote and how to do so.

According to the city of Keene’s election and voting website, in order to vote you need to register at the city clerk’s office by signing a completed voter registration form.

After signing, you will need to prove your identity by providing your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport or any photo identification card.

You can register any time between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. up to ten days before an election. As you can see, the voting process is relatively simple. We find it important to clarify any ambiguity concerning how and where to vote.

According to the City of Keene’s official website, The Municipal General Election will be held on November 3, 2015. From that website, the viewer is able to click on each candidate’s name to view their profile information. We want to encourage all students to be active and participate in these types of elections.

We understand voter turnout tends to be low among college students and we want to make an attempt to change that.

As college students, we have so much at stake. Our entire future lies before us and we have the ability to influence the decisions being made for us right at our fingertips.

As the election is coming up next week, we realize it may in fact be too late to vote. However this does not mean we should shy away from engaging in future local elections.

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