Opinion Asks: Primary Voting

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 1/3/16 9:24pm

We asked our opinion staff: "Do you plan on voting in the upcoming New Hampshire primary? Why or why not?"

Given the current state of our nation — particularly its political climate — I think it’s extremely important to exercise whatever amount of political voice one is able to. As a government major, I’ve come to realize just how much -— or, rather, how little — any one person can contribute directly to political decisions. However, to fail to vote is to fail to utilize that little bit of political discretion each of us is permitted.

-Michelle Gil ’16

As a first-time voter, I am very excited to be registered in New Hampshire. Because New Hampshire has played such a key role in previous elections, it is an even greater privilege to exercise our constitutional right to vote. As a voter from New York, I am relieved to be in a place where my choice matters. In the past, Democrats strategically registered as Republicans in order to ensure the success of less viable Republican candidates. Additionally, I find seeing many politicians capitalize on the importance of New Hampshire by visiting Dartmouth exciting.

-Hansa Sharma ’19

As an independent registered in New York, I do not have the right to vote in the upcoming New Hampshire primary, but if I did, I would. There is just not a good enough excuse to forego voting. Voting is part of our responsibility as American citizens. It is part of our duty as citizens: voting is the small price we pay to ensure our freedom, rights and security. Voting allows us to shape the future of our children and nation.

Some argue that an uninformed vote is worse than no vote. Frankly, I disagree. No voter heads to the polls, closes their eyes and points to a random name to decide who to support. Part of our duty is to be educated and informed. However, extensive knowledge of each candidate is not required to vote. Even just an hour of research on the candidates and their policy positions can be enough to make a relatively informed decision. General impressions of candidates’ personas based on a few minutes of television can also help guide voters.

Advisers will always have a hand in policy decisions, making a candidate’s stated positions less important in the grand scheme of things. Instead, a politician’s personality is a good predictor of their performance while in office. A candidate’s comportment provides a window into how they will conduct both foreign and domestic policy. Therefore, even a vote based on just a hunch, or a single televised interview, is a valid decision.

In terms of costs, the time and money spent on voting is negligible for any individual. People who need to be at work or have children to care for should simply vote for the candidate whose policy solutions best meet their needs. Benefits from favorable policy initiatives will offset any costs associated with voting. As American citizens, we have no excuse to be apathetic or abstain from voting.

-Ioana Solomon ’19

As Dartmouth students, many of us walk around with a lot of pride. I feel that many believe that because we go to the College, we are smarter, more competitive, harder-working and more demanding than many other college students across the nation. However, I often hear students say that they aren’t going to vote. Sometimes they express the feeling that their vote won’t make a difference. Other times, they say that they are disenchanted with our political system. Other simply don’t care. The reality is that these attitudes are problematic for our electoral system.

I am voting because it’s the one time I get to make a national impact. I’ve seen this right denied to people all over the world for so many different reasons. I’ve also seen people abstain. I watched Iraqi Sunnis boycott the 2005 elections, ultimately leading to a Shiite government that marginalized the minority group, which in turn contributed to the current situation in Iraq and Syria today.

When I think about voting, I think of that. Sure, Republicans are unlikely to deny registered Democrats and dissenters services and rights like in Iraq and Syria — at least we hope — but I still vote to make the GOP’s agenda less attainable. Why? Because I want to, because I can, and moreover, because millions of others around the world are denied that opportunity.

-William Peters ’15