By Shannon Nia AlomarSTAFF WRITER
Although midterm exams may be over, midterm elections took place today across the country for citizens to cast their votes.
Many people across Hofstra’s campus, and the country in general, have different insights on the importance of a midterm election but before a side can be chosen, it is important to understand exactly what it is.
A midterm election in the United States allows the people a chance to vote for their representatives within the Senate, Congress, House of Representatives and other local government officials. This election is usually held every two years and signifies the midpoint in the presidential four-year term. The purpose of its timing is not to divide the public’s attention with the presidential election. And yet, with its strategic timing and planning, some voters still overlook the midterm elections and wait for the next presidential election.
When Hofstra students were asked through a Facebook post why midterm elections are important, Hofstra alumnus Stephen Paunovski simply responded, “Short Response: They’re not.” Paunovski’s reply gathered two “likes,” but other students were more optimistic about the purpose of the midterm elections.
Hofstra Democrats Vice President and sophomore political science major Rob Bielunas set the underlying tone as to why this election period is important for voters to participate in.
“It’s important that people vote in the midterm elections because the winner of these elections will set the agenda for the next two years and if we want any hope of progress and shaking up the status quo, we need to send people to Washington and Albany that will fight for our country, for our state and for our communities,” Bielunas said.
Tatiana Brown, senior broadcast journalism major and intern for Kathleen Rice, also brought attention to the midterms impact on local areas as well.
“…change happens in the midterms as well. Thirty-two governor seats are up for election in midterms, and those seats impact local decisions. Midterm elections matter because they affect every part of your daily life,” Brown said.
WRHU-FM’s professional-in-residence Ed Ingles also spoke about what could possibly happen if people do not vote for the government they want.
“If one party controls Congress, it can create legislation, block bills, attempt to repeal laws and, as we’ve seen, dictate the direction the country moves, thus in fact limiting presidential powers. In many cases the midterm is more important than the presidential race,” Ingles said.
According to a survey taken at Long Island University Post, about 63 percent of college students have the intentions to vote in the midterm election this year, but based on previous years, it can be expected that approximately 45 percent will actually act on the opportunity to vote.
“We are the future,” is the approach many students at Hofstra took in regards to making the decision to vote. Brett Linley, President of Hofstra Students for Liberty and junior political science major, believes the future lies within the students’ hands and they can make or break their progression through a single ballot.
“As students, we have the most to gain or lose through an election. We have our whole lives ahead of us, and our job prospects may be ruined with the stroke of a pen. The youth are the people who fight and die in wars, shoulder the highest burden of the national debt and live under the antiquated social norms imposed by the establishment,” said Linley.
“If we don’t vote, we give the power to the status quo, which is quite skilled at sustaining itself,” said Linley. “In order to smash the unjust burdens of the state on our future, we have to take it upon ourselves to get to the ballot box.”
Rachel Durant, junior public relations and psychology major, also brought attention to those students who are granted the ability to continue their education through financial aid support as a reason for college students to get out there and vote tomorrow.
“Many students are on federal student aid to help finance their education. By voting, students can help to elect politicians that set the interest rates on student loans, or how much federal aid to give out. If there is an issue you care about – from animal rights to environmental issues to civil rights – you should exercise your right to vote to make your voice heard,” Durant said.
Overall, the consensus of the students at Hofstra is that not voting is detrimental to the advancement of the nation’s political direction – from those in politically active groups to those who accept the honor of voting as a right to be acted upon.
“Voting is your civic duty. It’s the best action to tell government if they’re doing a good job or not. You don’t like the current Congress, well vote and get them out,” Brown said.
“Just don’t be afraid to vote for a losing candidate. People will always tell you that you’re throwing your vote away if you vote outside the two-party system, as if either party by virtue of their existence owns your vote. The only vote that’s thrown away is one for something you don’t believe in,” Linley said.
Hofstra students are encouraged to vote at the East End Firehouse located on Holly Avenue.