USG Reports: Voters should not omit local politicians

Voters will choose the next president of the United States on Nov. 8. Millions will show up to the polls, mark their vote for commander in chief and submit their ballots. We cannot let this happen.

The president may seem to be the most significant position to elect, but this is not actually the case, as local politicians have more of an effect on community development.

In New York State, you will also have the opportunity to vote for your Congress Member, State Assembly Member, State Senator and U.S. Senators. Many voters will disregard these smaller races and the total votes cast will decrease as you move further down your ballot.

Voters cannot only cast their vote in the presidential election. It is imperative that we, as CUNY students, make it our priority to cast our votes in all of the local elections as well.

Many of the local races have such low turnouts that if all CUNY students residing in an area voted for the loser in the recent September primary, the loser may have been the winner.

When entering the voting booth on Election Day, I urge you all to cast your votes from the bottom of the page to the top. Not only does this ensure that you will vote for every position, but, in a way, it symbolizes how candidates rise in the political ranks. Many politicians start at the local level and gain the experience needed to serve in a higher position.

President Barack Obama served in the Illinois State Senate for seven years before entering the race for U.S. Senate and then for the White House. In his first election in 1996, he received just over 16,000 votes. In his last election in 2012, he received nearly 66 million votes.

While the voter base is a bit larger for a presidential race, he would not have been on the national stage if he did not receive those initial votes in Illinois.

Although you will not see any Baruch College alumni on the national stage, when you look further down your ballot you will have a chance to vote for some of your fellow Bearcats. There are a total of 40 New York State legislators who are CUNY alumni, including seven Baruch graduates.

Regardless of who you vote for, I cannot stress the importance of voting enough. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Luis Brandeis, “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” Voting is a responsibility that every citizen should cherish. The way we hold our politicians accountable is through the voting process. Do not give local politicians a pass.

Daniel Dornbaum is the president of USG. He can be reached at daniel.dornbaum@usgbaruch.com. His office is located at 3-272 in the Newman Vertical Campus.

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