Local elections make your voice heard

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Who you elect at a local level has a lot more impact on your daily life than who you vote into the presidency. Yet, the public often gives all of their attention to the presidential election. 

People love to complain about how local government is run, but so few registered voters vote in local elections that most people have no right to complain.

According to a study called Voter Turnout by the University of Utah, only 20 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot during local elections in 2015, and that number continues to steadily decline every year. 

I always vote in yearly local elections. These elections give us the amazing opportunity to have a say in our government—a right which many of us millennials take for granted. 

In the presidential election, each state has a certain amount of electoral votes. This electoral college represents a first-past-the-post voting system; meaning the candidate who wins the state wins 100 percent of the electoral votes for that state. Four times in U.S. history the candidate who won the popular vote still lost the presidential election because they received less electoral votes than their opponent. 

In the electoral college system, your vote may or may not contribute to your candidate actually winning the presidency because of the way electoral votes are rewarded. Where as in local elections, voters have more power because their votes contribute directly toward their candidate. 

Voting in local elections gives you a voice regarding management of your environment. 

Local officials create ordinances you must follow, so having people who represent your views in office will help mold your living environment into a place you find agreeable. Other local officials, like mayors and judges, make decisions that determine how government affects our lives. 

It is vital to research your local candidates and vote because local elections also help decide how money is spent on our roads, public transportation and how our tax money is spent. If you want money to be directed toward your school you must find a candidate who stands for more college funding. The same goes for other issues that are important to you.

There are a lot of issues you can share your opinion on if you vote locally. For example, Utah was the first state to enact a 72-hour waiting period before women can have an abortion procedure. This law had nothing to do with the president or federal government, but it had to do with people that were voted in on a local and state level.

Women all over the state are affected by this law. The law was proposed by a man and approved by a council of men. With only 16 out of 104 Utah state house and senate members being women, they were forced to let the majority, a council comprised of men, make women’s healthcare decisions. I’m not suggesting that all women are pro-choice, but women should definitely have more of a say in their own healthcare laws.

If you want to be represented equally, it is up to you to vote in candidates who will represent your ideologies. 

You get what you vote for, so be sure to vote for the candidates that share your beliefs. 

To see the full ballot for Tuesday go to vote.utah.gov where you can find information on candidates and what exactly you will be voting for on election day.