COLUMN: Ballot Box: Represent me

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The American political system has gone rogue and it’s because we aren’t being listened to.

America is a democratic republic with elected officials; therefore, it is the representative’s civic duty to represent the wants and needs of the area they are elected for. 

Learner.org explains: “In fulfilling their responsibilities, some legislators perceive themselves primarily as delegates of their constituencies, doing what their constituents want whether or not they personally believe it’s good policy. Other legislators see themselves more as trustees who follow their own judgment on what is right even if it clashes with a majority’s preferences.”

To some, having an elected official who fights for their personal beliefs might not seem like such a bad thing; however, with representatives who hold more of a trustee mentality, politics can turn into a means of obtaining personal benefits instead of serving a civic duty.

“…politics can turn into a means of obtaining personal benefits instead of serving a civic duty. “

Abby Doman, DSN Staff

This shift in mentally also creates a long-term effect that we are currently seeing: younger generations are not voting.

According to the United States census, voters between the ages of 18-24 have the lowest demographic turnout. 

With low voter turnout, elected officials also lose out on vital input from their constituents. In turn, they advocate for what they think is best, fight for the things they believe in, and consequently take out the democratic spirit of politics. 

This is the main reason younger citizens do not vote: they feel their voice doesn’t matter. With the way politicians are today, these young, apathetic non-voters are right.

It doesn’t matter who they vote for because ultimately the person elected will not pay attention to them.

Unless we do something about this, American democracy will die. Voter turnout will continue to drop and citizens will grow even more apathetic to what is going on around them.

So, what can we do?

First, we can talk to our representatives about this – tell your representative you want them to represent you, to hear you and to advocate for you.

If you are past the point of thinking this will work, there is a simple answer: run for the office yourself. Make the change from within. Set an example for the rest of the legislature to follow. Remind America what our leaders are supposed to be doing.

To find out more about your Utah representatives, visit https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/UT#senators.