Voting is a hot-button topic in the country and has been for a while.

Washburn held an event for National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, Sept. 24. The purpose of the event was to educate attendees about the importance of voting and encourage them to register.

So, why does Washburn make it a priority? Why is voting important?

Colleges sometimes get a bad reputation when it comes to national politics. It is a common theme among people to assume that colleges are just here to liberalize young people. However, that is not the case.

On our campus there is a mix of political opinions and ideologies. We have campus Republicans and campus Democrats. Washburn works as a place for students to safely and openly express their political leanings as well as grow and develop their political identity. This is important because a lot of people come to college with the same political identity as their parents. College is a great place to figure out beliefs and values and what to expect from politicians regardless of other people's input.

Voting is the next extension of this idea. Democracy can be a beautiful thing when it is put into action and multiple populations are represented. To vote is to participate in a ritual embedded in democracy since our founding. The voices of college students nationwide have something to say, and voting is a great way for them to say it. Voting is important for this very reason. It is one of the only ways we can make our voices heard in this country in our day-to-day lives. It takes maybe 10 minutes to vote. Only 10 minutes to shape the future of our country.

Another reason why voting is important is that it hasn’t always been something that everyone could do. This year's WUmester theme is Suffrage and Citizenship. Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1919, 100 years ago now, and African Americans didn’t get the right to vote, fully and unimpeded by literacy tests, until 1965, 54 years ago. Because voting hasn’t always been accessible to everyone regardless of gender, age, race, etc. it just makes it all the more important. We currently, and luckily, live in a time where all citizens over the age of 18 can vote in elections as long as they are registered to do so.

College students make up a large portion of the voting population. The other large portion is the older Baby Boomer generation. The older population in the past has statistically voted more than the younger college generation. However, according to Pew Research Center in the 2018 midterms, for the first time in a long time, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X outvoted the Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers, in the past, seem to have the time that college students don't to vote, but if we can make time for extra jobs and extracurriculars, we have the time to vote for the future we want to see.

Washburn Student Media truly believes voting at any age is important, especially as college students. Making one’s voice heard is important. So get registered, get out there and go VOTE!

Edited by Brianna Smith, Shelby Hanson, Adam White, Jessica Galvin

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