During the 2016 presidential election, the importance of voting and exercising one’s democratic rights was made evident by the wide amount of polarizing opinions. For many people, the need to vote did not warrant second guessing.
For others, the strong opposition to one of the candidates was enough to galvanize them to put in a ballot. As always, however, there were many people who did not care enough to vote. To combat political indifference in individuals, the CUNY system worked hard to educate people on why taking the time out of one’s day to vote is important.
In the past, Baruch College held rallies, tabling sessions, discussions and many other organized public events to promote Election Day. By contrast, barely any effort was shown to encourage voting in the 2017 mayoral election held on Nov. 7.
The mayoral election has a stronger bearing on the lives of New York citizens than the presidential election. Baruch seemed to ignore this, as it failed to express pro-voting sentiment as openly as it did in previous years.
Aside from one tabling event without strong visibility, Baruch did not do anything noticable to promote voting in the mayoral race. Although Baruch had an on-site voting location, most students are registered to vote in different districts.
This election gave students the chance to choose their local representatives in the municipal government. While the White House deals with issues on a colossal scale, municipal legislators make a diference in the everyday lives of New Yorkers.
CUNY’s mission statement includes the intent to promote citizenship for all of its students. Voting is one of the most direct ways to exercise citizenship. If Baruch had allocated time for students to vote or further promoted the mayoral race, more people would have been encourages to vote.
With the increasingly large gap between people of different political beliefs, this mayoral election was extremely important.
Failing to participate in the democratic process is not acceptable because citizens should all be concerned with who their representatives are. In a sense, Baruch facilitated indifference and ignorance to political current events by failing to properly promote the mayoral election. For future elections, Baruch should be more proactive in stimulating political involvement so it can keep in line with the mission statement it preaches.
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