EDITORIAL: The ASCWU only represents about 10 percent of students
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Voter apathy isn’t something new. In about every U.S. general election, voter turnout never exceeds 70 percent. In some states, it barely passes 50 percent.
But even then, it should come as quite a surprise that only about 10 percent of Central students voted in last week’s general election. But then again, it probably doesn’t.
Every year, students at the Ellensburg campus vote on which Associated Students of CWU (ASCWU) candidates will hold office the next year. (We stress “of CWU,” because we’d like to remind everyone that it’s hard to represent the entire school when nearly the entire school didn’t even vote.)
Central’s Ellensburg campus boasts a student body well over 8,000, yet only about 800 of you cast your ballots. Could you imagine what politics in the United States would be like if only 10 percent of Americans voted every four years?
You’ve no doubt heard this a million times before, but it apparently bears repeating. Voting is important, especially for students at Central. Your officers do a lot more than you realize, and if this year’s drama between the board and the president has anything to say, your voice matters most when you vote these students into office.
When they do something great, or mess up entirely, those of you who never voted don’t really have room to criticize or praise. You just sort of have to sit there silently, like you did on election day.
Speaking of election day, some candidates won handily while others came down to the wire. Notably, the race for president was decided by no less than a handful of votes. If there’s not a better real-life representation of why voting matters, we don’t know what is.
Franklin Roosevelt, the man behind the New Deal and the president who shepherded us through the entirety of World War II, would be rolling in his grave if he knew how many students didn’t vote.
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting,” he once said.
Obviously, you would never lose your right to vote at Central, but he has a point.
Last year, voters turned out in spades, thanks in large part to a rather controversial $50-a-quarter arts fee on the ballot.
In unison, students overwhelmingly rejected it, sending the fee to the bottom of the very large pit where all rejected fees surely fall.
Maybe students were dragged to the ballot box by their friend in support of their cause, or maybe they were informed. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they were involved in student politics, something this school is lacking.
Come to an ASCWU meeting at 9 a.m. each Friday and you’ll see the apathy in full effect. Or rather, you won’t see it, because there’s nobody there. Meetings are generally filled with the officers speaking to a mostly empty room, littered with students waking up for class with a cup of coffee, or studying idly on the sides.
The only meeting this year that had any attendance of consequence was when the ASCWU publicly denounced their support of their president. And even then, there were only about 80 of you (or, one percent of all students.)
It shouldn’t just be drama that gets students away from the barbecue, television or beer bong that are keeping them away from voting. Politics are usually boring, and that’s life. Republicans bank on the fact that politics are boring, which is why they usually steamroll mid-term elections, something Democrats complain about after the fact.
So do yourselves a favor: vote. It’s really not that bad. You can even do it while you’re taking a shit.