We must exercise vote to make change

The 2016 presidential election has left many voters discour- aged by the two primary candidates for president. With so much negative attention on the election, voters aren’t happy with the situation.

Not only are voters not satisfied with the candidates they have to choose from, but many feel the wrong policies are on the forefront. Amongst registered voters polled, only 27 percent said the campaign is focused on the right policy issues, according to Pew Research Center.

Even if voters don’t like the Republican and Democrat-
ic nominees for president, there are other options out there. Independent nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein provide the alternate voice that presidential elections desperately need.

Voters are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going, as 63.4 percent said the country was going in the wrong direction, according to RealClearPolitics, a Chicago-based politi- cal news and polling data aggregator.

A message can be sent to the Republican and Democratic parties by increased support towards third parties. Voters can let the powers that be know that change needs to come or the two-party system will lose more of its stronghold.

Young voters make up the smallest voting percentage by age range. Voters between the age of 18-29 are the only age group that has less than 50 percent of its population actually vote in the election, according to United States Election Project, a site that tracks voter turnout data.

It’s not that young voters aren’t interested in the process. We’ve seen them proudly support candidates like Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders. But once the majority candidates win the pri- maries, young voters passion wavers off.

But they can still be part of the message to fight against the powers the be, harness their anger over what happened with Sanders and use it to drive their passion to vote on key issues and make their voices heard.

Voters must be active in all political issues. While the elec- tion, especially this year’s, is drawing a majority of the atten- tion, there are local and state issues that can impact voters even more.

The issues that voters feel most passionately about often impact them and their neighbors the most, which is why local elections are so important. Local government is there to serve us, but we are not taking advantage of it.

Focus should be turned by voters from the presidential election to state propositions, like Proposition 64, which would legalize marijuana, and Proposition 54, which would prohibit legislatures from passing any bill that hasn’t been published in print and on the internet for at least 72 hours before the vote.

Other key measures on the ballot this November include Proposition 51, which would authorize $9 in obligated bonds to general funds, according to a press release from Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Two billion of that would go to community colleges and $3 billion towards K-12 public school facilities.

These are just three of 17 measures on the California ballot this November, the most since the 2000 election, according to The Los Angeles Times.

These are measures that actually impact you, that would impact your friends and family. You don’t have to just choose between two candidates you like or dislike. Bills that impact your community are up for votes and will be decided by local voters.

The ability to vote and have a say in the political cycle is one of the greatest rights Americans hold today, something that men and women have sacrificed their lives to protect for decades. Sit- ting out of an entire election because someone doesn’t like a few of the candidates does not fix any of the issues in this country. It just makes the issues worse.