Grace Schweitzer is a psychology junior and opinion columnist for Mustang News. The views expressed in this piece don’t necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
With just one look at a ballot, the anxiety surrounding voting starts to grow. At the age of 18, we enter the game of politics; voting becomes a new task we must complete. We’re told it’s a part of our civic duty, and if we don’t vote, we are bound to be at a loss compared to those that do.
Throughout high school students are taught about the government, politics, how those in power are elected and how our votes matter in the grand scheme of the game. We may know the basics, but we were never taught how to truly understand what happens during these voting periods and elections; we don’t know where to start when looking at a ballot. The game of politics and voting is one not many are well-versed in.
Let’s talk about the most annoying section of the ballot – propositions. Props are written in ways no one, except those who wrote them, knows what the true stance of yes or no means. The wording is meant to confuse you. Sometimes even with the proper amount of research, voters are still left dumbfounded on how to proceed.
Only a small portion of voters are fluent in the language of politics. This state of confusion and anxiety when looking at the ballot and the many props and people to vote on, is a constant.
This constant confusion mixed with anxiety leads to people choosing to not vote. Voters don’t want to vote on things they don’t understand. By not fully understanding a ballot, voters are at a disadvantage compared to the politicians who know the game inside-out. Voting was meant to protect the players, but instead it now protects those who have their hands on the controls: the politicians and lobbyists.
The reasons why this country has so many elections, why there are propositions, is so the people are living in a country that serves them. This country was built on the ideal that the government is here to serve, not control. With the game in which voting has become, there is more control and deception than serving the common people.
With the current state of our country, there is more pressure than ever to cast a vote and advocate for certain state and county propositions and positions of power. Climate change, racial equality and reproductive healthcare rights are just a handful of the issues featured in ballots in the coming weeks.
With such important issues coupled with the amount of passion the people have for these topics, confusion and anxiety are not something voters should be experiencing. When voters try to learn what propositions are actually calling for, they should be able to do so without the need of being fluent in political language.
Not only is it a right given to us, it is a duty we must fulfill. Each vote is essential in the grand scheme for the future of this country. The game must be made fair if we are all to participate and do so knowing what is happening.