Exercising Your Right to Vote
Dear Members of the Loyola Community:
As the November 6 election approaches, I reflect on the fact that, one hundred years ago, I, as a woman, would not have been able to vote. One hundred years ago, two-thirds of our students would not have been eligible to vote. Women and minorities fought for the right to vote because they knew that it was the only way government would hear their voices.
We should all take this to heart. Voting is fundamental to being a person for others, and we cannot take this right for granted. Our Jesuit tradition guides us to engage in our communities and the world, and to work toward improving the world around us in every way possible. This surely includes engaging in the electoral process and electing leaders similarly dedicated to the greater good.
The fact of the matter is that the voting booth is where elected officials listen.
Yet, public officials and candidates know that college students do not vote in large numbers. They know that while students express themselves via social media or active protests, they are much less likely actually to vote than other demographics. Several polls predict that less than 30 percent of eligible voter ages 18 to 29 plan to vote in this November in the mid-term elections.
The voting booth is where you can have the most impact on policies and resource allocation. Elections, from national to local, are your most important avenue for expressing how you want your tax dollars spent. This includes everything from healthcare to education, to federal and state student financial aid, to spending that promotes alternative energies, to programs that ensure the safety of our nation and our communities.
If you are not registered to vote, please register. November 6 is election day, and early voting in Illinois has already begun. Deadlines for absentee voting are coming up soon. Please visit https://www.luc.edu/vote/ for more information.
Your voice matters, and matters more when you vote.
Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD