No Vote? No Problem!

Making waves in the community; and you can too!

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No Vote? No Problem!

Catie Heerman and Anna Ward

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As avid readers of news, consumers of media, and participants in the political conversation, a question pondered is, “How can I have a role in government if I can’t vote?” At 16 years old, it seems as if all forms of participation in government in the community are still a few years out of reach. While it is true that all individuals will not be eligible to vote until the age of 18, there are other ways to be politically active in the community.

One way we decided to become more involved in the government is by canvassing. Canvassing is the act of going door to door and encouraging people around the county to vote for a certain candidate or proposition. Before this August, canvassing was a foreign subject. Upon discovering this opportunity, we were immediately drawn to the idea of actually being able to speak to residents of the county about political participation.

When we were contacted by Lisa Johnson, a candidate for mayor of Versailles looking for volunteers to canvas for her, we were very interested. The two of us decided that this would be an amazing opportunity to not only participate in the local government, but also better understand how much work goes into a campaign, and how it important it is to stay informed.

While many people agree about the importance of local elections, very few people come to the polls. To further understand the importance of being politically vocal on a small scale, as well as the process of running for a local office, we spoke with mayor candidate Lisa Johnson.

Question: How do you think we can encourage more people to vote in local elections?

Lisa Johnson described how important it was to encourage family members to vote and participate in local politics. This can be done by contacting local officials and asking questions. Most candidates for local office will accept questions and comments from the public. Multiple events have been held in recent weeks to engage with voters, including the ice cream social downtown and the mayoral debate hosted at the high school.

Question: How can people my age (high school students) become more involved in government at the local level?

While there is a youth council here in Versailles, it is difficult to really be involved in local government. Students can, however, engage in government by going to committee meetings as they are open to the public. Students can also engage by volunteering and canvassing for candidates.

With the days until our local elections quickly winding down, it is extremely important to understand the importance of being informed. With easy access to social media, it is easier than ever to become involved. By exploring local opportunities for volunteer work, anyone can make a difference; even without a vote.