Voting is an important right, we need to treat it that way

Voting is an important right, we need to treat it that way

In 2016, I was a fresh 18-years-old and excited to vote in my first election. I showed up to the ballot, prepared to vote for President of the United States. When I got my ballot, I became anxious to see so many other boxes.

I had no clue who any of these people were or what they were running for.

This year, there’s been a rise in voter interest, which is great, but I fear many people are heading to the polls to fill out one box, like I did in 2016.

Don’t get me wrong, voting for President is important, but it’s a little overblown. There are many other races that are just as important, if not more so.

As Oklahoman’s we have the chance to choose who we want making decisions for us on a local level.

Would you like U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe to keep representing us in Washington D.C., or do you think it’s time for a change? In the Jenks area, U.S. Representative of District 01 Kevin Hern has a democratic and independent challenger.

If you care about business in Oklahoma, the Corporation Commissioner race between Republican Todd Hiett and Libertarian Todd Hagopian might pique your interest.

Don’t know what U.S. Representatives or the Corporation Commission does? Neither did I before this election. Election cycles give us the chance to learn how our democracy works and I try to take the opportunity to build my knowledge. It’s not too late to learn, to get involved.

There are great internet resources like Ballotpedia.com, okpolicy.org, or you can simply search for a candidate and you’ll be learning in no time.

State questions are always important and this year we get to decide whether we want to end the use of sentence enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes with SQ 805. State question 814 gives us the opportunity to change the way the state’s tobacco settlement money is distributed.

These are just a few things on the ballot and while I’m not asking you to mark every single box, I urge you to take a few minutes out of your day and research one or two of these candidates and what they’re running for and make a difference.

I’m not telling you how to vote or who to vote for, all I’m saying is that this democracy doesn’t work if the majority isn’t heard.

And don’t just vote every four years. There are elections each year to decide your mayors, your city council men and women, your governors, to decide how much money goes into fixing roads and schools.

Elections are important and this year I think people are finally understanding that. Don’t let the excitement for voting end on Nov. 4 and don’t go to the ballot unprepared like I was in 2016.

Hayden Tucker

Hayden Tucker is the Sports Editor and Director of Media for the Jenks Tribune. He has three years of experience in newspaper journalism before joining the Tribune. Tucker was born in McAlester, then moved to the Oklahoma City area in 2010 where he lived for nine years prior to moving to Jenks.

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