The Gubernatorial in High School: Voting for Non-voters

By Danielle Brignola

October has breezed in with browning leaves, warm apple cider, and pumpkin patches galore.  With the change of the season, school has reached full swing and the federal fiscal year has begun.  Something often overlooked by students as they transition into sweatshirts and rain boots, are the gubernatorial elections.  Gubernatorial is just a fancy way of describing the governorship.  You may be wondering why any students at Hamden High would even care about elections that they most likely can’t participate in electorally.  The truth is, you can never be too knowledgeable about the politics in your local area and beyond.  Though some may find the Malloy-Foley standoff boring, predictable, and irrelevant to their daily lives, those who ignore politics and politicians in general often find themselves out of the loop or blindsided when policy choices are made.

Well, why does this matter to a high school student?  Will things in this election even matter ten years from now?  The answer, unequivocally, is yes.  Issues like education reform, equal rights protections, public post-secondary financing, and juvenile justice reform directly affect students.  We all remember the Common Core switch last year with SBAC testing and school-wide rubrics.  That legislation was generally disliked by students at Hamden High.  If you want any sort of say in anything that the state government does in the next 4 years, you have to choose who you think will make the best and just choice.  To do this, you must vote.  If you don’t vote, then you forfeit your right to make change or protect existing policy that you feel strongly about.  If you can’t vote, then it is your obligation to influence those around you that can.

For those students who cannot legally vote (yet!), we all know it is important to be an informed voter, which does not happen overnight.  As with saving for college or writing research papers, it’s best to start early.  Building a stronghold of political fact, opinion, and experience makes for a more knowledgeable voter.  In a short time, Hamden High students will be choosing our next president.  Keeping this in mind, we also need to make it our mission to help discuss different political views with the people around us to make a generally educated electorate, which is at the cornerstone of our democracy.

Reasons to Vote: (the whole spectrum)

  1. You have a voice.
  2. You want input on things that will affect your life.
  3. You feel an obligation to speak your mind.
  4. You want a better future.
  5. You want a better future for later generations.
  6. You support the American ideal of democracy.
  7. You are grateful for American government, albeit flawed, because we as the people have freedom and influence not found in other parts of the world.
  8. You like bubbling things in.
  9. You like feeling like an adult.
  10. You have nothing better to do with your time. (Or at least you wish you did.)

What To Do:

Register: You can register online, in person, or by mail. Deadlines are October 21st by mail or online, and October 28th by person in the registrar’s office

Plan for an Absentee Ballot if you need it. Absentee Ballots are already available and must be with municipal clerk by closing of the polls on November 4th. Since you want to use the absentee ballots when you are out of town and mail is not delivered on election day, get your ballot in ahead of time.

Vote on Election Day, November 4th. Bring a photo ID or other government document with your name and address. If you have no ID, you may use a utility bill or a paycheck with your name and address on them.

The Governor takes office on Monday, January 5, 2015.

For more voter registration guidelines visit the Connecticut Secretary of State website.

 

Sneak Peak:  Next week’s topic is choosing the man for you.  (The candidates of the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle) The following is an excerpt from “Governor Who?”

Finding a candidate that best fits your needs is like finding a love interest.  You look at who they are and what they stand for, their values, how they make you feel, but most importantly, you want a connection.  Or at least that’s what their commercials try to synthetically simulate…

photo by Washington Times

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