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Power to the People

Published November 2, 2023

Power to the People

Lately with Layne: Take your right to vote seriously

By Layne Rey | For The Post

As the November General Election approaches, many are left without a plan or care to vote. The privilege to have a voice that will directly impact governmental decisions is a freedom that should not be ignored, especially considering recent events. Although Ohio has two main issues along with local government elections on the ballot, many continue to discount it as an irrelevant election. This election deserves attention and a high voter turnout because of the direct impacts it will have on the lives of Ohioans.

Issue 1 deals with one of the most personal things a human can go through: an abortion. Reproductive rights as a whole are on the ballot and must be treated as seriously as the matter is. If you have a uterus or care about somebody with one, Issue 1 significantly affects your life. It is not a matter of choosing a candidate; taking a stance on this issue gives the power to the voter to act as the elected official and make the decision—the more voices to back the decision, the more the outcome will represent our state. It seems as though almost everybody has something to say about it, so I encourage everyone to dissect their educated opinion into a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ and take it to the polls.

Issue 2 will affect the government’s involvement in marijuana as a medicine, a business and a drug. Marijuana influences the lives of many whether that be mentally, physically or financially, and that should be taken into account when deciding to vote or not. Each individual voter may not experience a direct effect, but state programs would be created and new terms would be in place for landlords along with other indirect effects. This is another issue that many say they have a cut-and-dry opinion on, so it is necessary to take the next steps to make that opinion count for something.

Students have always been characterized as a demographic with low voter turnout, but it is trending upward. Specifically, students tend to care about issues like reproductive rights which draws them to the polls in higher numbers. However, the percentage of students voting in this election – which deals with two issues that students often come in contact with – should be record-breaking. I am hopeful, but sometimes getting my friends to overcome the barriers of voting such as residential confusion and one-page paperwork is comparable to pulling teeth.

Because of extended media coverage and big-name celebrities, presidential elections tend to capture the attention of potential voters; however, it should arguably be the other way around. The president rarely has the sole power to severely impact the life of an ordinary citizen – if anything, Congress does. Decisions in local government, on the other hand, affect taxes, construction, parks and many other crucial aspects of a city.

With no presidential election this year, many Ohio counties will have mayoral or city council contests on the ballot. Although their elections are less spoken about and seemingly less important, local and state government officials take control of internal housing services, parks and recreation, emergency services, public improvement projects and transportation. These services and decisions are inherently personal – they affect the everyday lives of the citizens in their respective municipalities. It is crucial to research who will be on the ballot in your county and what they stand for.

Voting on statewide issues and for local government officials is just as important as voting in any other election. I am hopeful that the deeply personal effects of Issues 1 and 2 will encourage participation in our democratic process that is often taken for granted.

Layne Rey is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

AUTHOR: Layne Rey

EDITOR: Megan Diehl
COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges