More voters needed in primary elections

By Gabriel Hinojosa

As an American citizen, I am concerned for the greater good of this country. Therefore, I make an effort to remain politically aware and coherent. This year will be the first time I am eligible to elect a new president.

I should be excited. However, due to the lack of participation in the primaries, I worry that whoever is on the November ballot may not be properly representing the public’s opinion. Turnout for the 2012 presidential primaries was the lowest on record, just 15.9 percent of eligible voters. How can the nomination be accurate when primary election turnout has dropped historically low?

Primary voting is the electing of a candidate, within a political party, to become its nominee. Primaries ultimately dictate who is on the ballot in November. That’s why it is imperative that we as citizens realize the opportunity we have and make a genuine decision to participate in the primaries on March 1.

Voting is a civic duty we are responsible to fulfill as citizens and includes all steps in the process. Local, state and national elections should all be viewed as equally important. Each level of voting directly affects the next option on the next ballot.

Many people choose not to participate, which can be easily understood due to all the red tape that comes with the process, such as voter ID laws that discourage voter participation.

But what most people don’t realize is that they might already be registered to vote. Students may have signed up when they obtained their driver’s licenses or official state ID Many classes, such as government and political science, now offer the registration form.

Additionally, many people are left with the feeling that their vote doesn’t matter. This is because of the structure of the primary elections. States decide when to hold their primary elections. This leads to early states broadcasting their results before other state’s elections are held. This can drastically sway the remaining voters’ opinions as they wait for their opportunity to cast their ballots.

Historically, the Texas primary has been one of the last at the end of May. This year, our primary has been changed to Super Tuesday, the day when the most states hold primaries.

We as Texans must cast our votes March 1. We can guide our country by articulating our political opinion and narrating the direction of our democracy. The fate of this nation is more than ever in the hands of the people. But this power can easily be lost through lack of participation in the primaries.

With there being so many options amongst the Republican Party, and so much controversy with Democratic Party, I am afraid this election will become a matter of pick your poison.

Trump still leads the Republican polls, which frightens a mass of individuals with his radical remarks and perspective.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton manages to retain her lead as well, which again petrifies so many due to the Benghazi scandal. Both poll leaders are just a bit too extreme in their approach to be trusted.

So what are we to do?

If you have not yet, I urge you to watch the Republican and Democratic debates. Pay attention and analyze what is said. Who is a leader? Who is strong? Who is most educated on each issue? These are a few things one must consider when watching these debates, and deciding who is getting your vote.

It is critical for the greater good of this country, seeing as we are in such an alarming time, to do the task justice.

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