Midterm elections: Students need to vote to make a difference


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Election season is upon us. With political ads, yard signs, and even direct mail campaigns from the candidates themselves, it may feel like there’s no escape. Students may think they are excluded from the political scene, but they are perhaps one of the most important political demographics in the country. College students can have an impact on politics just as great as the older generations.

Younger people have less confidence in their ability to have an influence on the world around them, which makes them are less likely to vote, according to Professor David Sturrock of the Political Science Department.

“It’s worth students’ time to vote, point blank.” said Jesse McArdell, a senior political science and history major. He brought up that students who are away from home can do their part through absentee voting. The process is a bit more complicated, but not to a point where a person should refuse to vote. “If [students] don’t vote absentee, it’s absolutely worth their time to vote in town here.”

“Not voting or being nonchalant about it not only hurts the United States as a whole, but shows the rest of the world that we are complacent in how we are represented,” Braden Sommervold, a senior communications major, said in response to the idea that voting doesn’t matter.

The 2018 election is a midterm election, meaning that while we won’t get a new president, this vote will determine our state representatives, senators, and governors.

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s website (sos.state.mn.us) is the best resource to determine who is running as your district representative. As for Marshall, there are two districts to know when voting for the state and federal representatives: District 16A for the Minnesota House of Representatives and District 7 for the U.S. House of Representatives.

For state representative in District 16A, the two main candidates are incumbent Republican Chris Swedzinski and Democrat Tom Wyatt-Yerka.

For U.S. representative in District 7, the candidates are Republican Dave Hughes and incumbent Democrat Collin C. Peterson.

The election for Minnesota representatives for the Senate is a special election since both Senate seats are on the ballot. First, there is incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Jim Newberger. Second, there is incumbent Democrat Tina Smith and Republican Karin Housley. For Governor and Lt. Governor: Democrats Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan, and Republicans Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom are running.

On the local level there are county commissioners, county attorney, county sheriff, and city council member positions up for election.

Remember, you must be 18 years or older, a United States citizen, and not a convicted felon to vote in elections.

How to Register to Vote

There are several different ways to become a registered voter, the most common way being filling out a form the day of the election at the polling location. For those who want more convenience when registering, online registration is available via the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

For both ways of registering, the most important document that is needed is a driver’s license, more specifically, the driver’s license number below your picture on the card. If you do not have a license or if it is not on your person when registering in person, you will need to provide your Social Security number instead. The rest of the information that will need to be provided are the basics: name, address, your birthday, and several yes or no questions. The process should take less than 5 minutes.

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