If you are tired of hearing about the many local elections we have had this year (and getting ads in the mail, receiving texts about who you should vote for, and seeing tons of political commercials on TV), you are not alone. But do not worry, we are almost done.
Often, people tend to skip smaller local elections and just vote on the “big stuff” (namely the presidential election, which receives much of the press). The U.S. Census Bureau found that in 2018, when we had our last midterm election, only 53.4% of U.S. citizens voted, compared to the 66.8% of people who voted in the 2020 presidential election, and the 61.4% who voted in the 2016 election.
Purple = Midterm election
Green = Presidential election
|Election Year||Percent of U.S. Citizens Who Voted|
And in Oklahoma, those numbers were even smaller. Less than half of the citizens in the state voted in the 2018 midterm, and less than 60% voted in the past two presidential elections.
|Election Year||Percent of Citizens Who Voted in|
|Source: United States Census Bureau website. More statistics on voting can be found here: census.gov.|
While the amount of people voting in both kinds of elections has been increasing, there is still much room for improvement, especially when it comes to the midterms. The outcomes of these state and city elections will likely have more impact on voters’ day-to-day lives. For instance, if there is a proposition to change a highway’s speed limit from 65 to 70 mph, that would impact your driving experience. The people elected to your local school board or city council will determine the priorities for the community during their term in office and into the future. And midterm elections (like this year’s) will impact what the general/ presidential election will be like in two years.
So it is important for you to vote in all elections to affect the outcome (or at least have a better chance of doing so). People may say that one person’s vote does not count, but the biggest way for it to not count is if they do not vote at all. It is both a right and a responsibility to vote, and we are fortunate to be able to participate in our democracy. And, unlike with presidential elections, for midterm elections, the electoral college is not thrown into the mix, so it’s slightly less confusing!
To find information on registering to vote, visit https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.
The second most important point about voting (besides actually doing it) is making an informed decision, so do your research! Thanks to the internet, doing research is easier than ever. You can look up candidates’ websites, news stories or clips where they have been interviewed, newspaper editorials about them, and more. You can also look up what the state propositions or questions would be. A great option is printing your sample ballot ahead of time and making notes on it as you do your research. Then you can take the completed sample ballot with you to vote, and you will have your answers right there! As Thomas Jefferson said, “Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”
If you are unable to use a computer or print items at home, TCC campus libraries and the Tulsa City County Library locations have computers and printers.
And do not forget to check the address of your polling place, because it may have changed. You can find your polling place at https://okvoterportal.okelections.us/.
You can find more information on voter registration, early voting, and absentee ballots here: https://www2.tulsacounty.org/electionboard/elections/next-election/.
So let’s finish strong, folks! Let’s do our civic duty and help improve our nation by voting this year.