Scott: No matter the side, voting is a duty

Scott introduces a section of election coverage designed to challenge students to vote.

Zach Scott

Zach ScottAs you probably have noticed, this edition of The Temple News’ News and Opinion sections have adopted an election theme.

When the idea for this theme was initially concocted, I can assure you the motivation was never to convince college students to vote for a particular candidate. As such, you won’t find any endorsement here in this article. That is not to say that I don’t have an opinion on the matter — what would an Opinion editor be without one? — but to say that I believe there is a more important issue at stake.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 49 percent of people ages 18 to 24 voted in the 2008 presidential election. That’s compared to an already dismal 64 percent of the general population that voted. And that was an up year for our demographic.

It’s hardly a secret that young people rarely bother to vote. Perhaps we’re a disillusioned bunch. Perhaps we’re under the belief that no one will hear our voices. Or perhaps we just need a reason to be excited.

In this Opinion section, you can find opposing articles on who college students should vote for, a piece on the importance of third party candidates and an article praising the efforts of state election officials. If you visit our website, you will also find a series of Letters to the Editor, all thematically linked to the 2012 presidential election.

What I hope you find is a reason to be excited about the election. I hope that if you’re someone who is registered but unsure if you should bother voting, that you decide sometime while reading this material that you should. Avoid hitting that snooze button. When your boss calls, start coughing into your phone. Email your professors and tell them those essays will have to wait. Do what it takes to exercise what many call a right, but what is really more accurately described as a duty.

Democracy doesn’t work if the “demos” are easily dissuaded from activity. And, not to harp on this point, but we do live in a society where your vote does actually matter for something.

There are several countries in this world where people either have no votes at all or might as well not. There are populaces where people turn out to voting places knowing full well that the result will be a 99.9 percent victory for the incumbent no matter what.

Yet we’re the complacent ones.

Who you vote for is of shockingly little importance to me. You could write in my name for all I would care. Don’t, because I’m certainly not 35 yet. But you get the idea.

Democrat. Republican. Libertarian. Socialist. Yes, there are real differences between these groups. But the bigger difference will be the one you make on Nov. 6.

Zack Scott can be reached at or on Twitter @ZackScott11.

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