Importance of voting


Voter turnout for recent Montrose city council elections

Amelia Avila, Reporter

In the April 2022 Montrose City Council elections, Doug Glaspell, Ed Ulibari, J David Reed, and Barbara Bynum were all elected to the Montrose City Council.

Glaspell retired from IBM (Technology company ) after 30 years and has a bachelors in science from the University of Phoenix. Ulibari has a construction license as well as experience in home building. Reed has previously been appointed to City Council seat and was placed there because of his experience in law; Reed has a bachelors in law. Bynum has a passion for fundraisers and nonprofit organizations which help the Montrose community.

City Council’s decisions impact traffic regulations, public or governmental buildings, and city growth. City Council affects our daily lives much more than the presidential election, which is why voting in local elections is just as important as voting in presidential elections, if not more so.

Voter turnout rates, especially in non-presidential elections, are a concern because not as many people vote in smaller local elections. Most voters tend to vote only once every four years for the presidential election, however, Colorado’s voting averages are slightly higher than the national average.

In the November Montrose County School Board Election of 2021, there were 13,750 ballots cast and only 46.18% (6,349.75) of those voted according to Montrose County Election results. If less than half of 13K people have voted,  how do people expect to have a voice in how the city of Montrose operates?

Colorado is considered to have a high voting participation. On average, 71.26%  of the eligible voting population casts their ballot, according to World Population Review. Colorado has social studies standards for civics, which strongly promotes civic duties and responsibilities and encourages students to vote, yet Pew Research Center says only 41% of adults under 30 voted in 2018. With still less than half of young adults voting, Colorado placed 2nd  in highest youth votes in the country in 2018.

People of color are anywhere from 5% to 20% less likely to vote than a white person according to FairVote. In the United States the most voter turnout was counted in the state of New Jersey while the least was Alaska, according to World Population Review. There may be many factors as to why there are less voters than hoped for, yet the states that have educated their students on voting’s impact have had a higher voter turnout similar to Colorado.

Throughout the US, it is estimated that anybody under 30 years old is less likely to vote. Furthermore, only 13% of young adults say that voting is difficult according to FairVote. If difficulty may not be a reason youth vote, then why is it that youth are less likely to vote? The answers to this question varies from reasons associated with race and gender as well as being discouraged by the divisive political parties. However, the only way to change the political scene is to make your voice count by casting a ballot. There can still be effort made to show how important each vote is, and that is most apparent in local elections, especially one that are close.  It is widely known that younger people typically vote less yet is them that should be voting the most since it is the younger people are the future. 

Especially in local elections, every vote matters. In the 2021 School Board election, the winner was decided by 22 votes, that is less than a classroom full of students. Eric Kelley narrowly beat Dawn Schiedlt and a recount was conducted. It only takes one person to make a difference in voting. It only takes one class and one teacher to educate and impact a voting race and it’s been proven. Some people are discouraged that their vote does not matter when hundreds of thousands of votes are cast in presidential elections, but in small local elections we can see how important every single vote is. A party only needs to win by one vote and that vote could be yours.

There should be a higher standard of voting education in all of America to stress the importance of voting to all students. States that educate their students more tend to have a higher voter turnout, and all states need this requirement to prove voting’s importance. Voting has an enormous effect on the United States and the democracy we hold so dear. Voting creates diversity and equality for all Americans. With youth not voting, the risk becomes what America represents: freedom. Voting is vital to our equality.