Voting is a key part of our democracy. According to the Pew Research Center, college students are historically less likely to participate in midterm elections even though we make up a majority of voters. But who is to say that voter turnout will be different this year? 

If anything, the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election prove that our votes matter. Also, considering the cultural shift toward political polarization, your vote these midterm elections takes precedence over any other election. 

As races for midterm elections heat up, recognize the power you have to shape decision-making in the U.S. government. Those of us who make up the electorate are privileged, and we should understand this privilege. especially because we are in close proximity to people who face obstacles when registering to vote.

Emma McCabe | Elon News Network

This past September, North Carolina’s state elections board unanimously voted to end a subpoena from the U.S. attorney and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the disclosure of confidential voter records. Though the collection deadline was pushed to January 2019, there are still great concerns about the reach of the government to collect confidential information that can potentially disenfranchise voters.

The overstepping of governmental power for one constitutional right could affect other freedoms, such as the right to a free press. If one right is compromised, there could be serious repercussions for other freedoms. This is why citizens need to vote in these upcoming midterm elections in order to be a part of this discussion. 

In August 2018, Dean of the School of Communications at Elon University Rochelle Ford wrote an opinions article on the importance of the free press in the U.S. democracy. In her writing, Ford says that recent attacks on news media are troubling, and she affirms the necessity of news reporting to better this country’s political process. 

“Good news reporting should not tell people what opinion to hold. Instead good news reporting shares verifiable, attributed information ideally from multiple sources so that people understand the facts necessary to make an informed decision,” Ford writes.

Elon News Network stands with Ford. We support a free press that is devoid of political leanings — a newsroom that seeks the truth and supports an open exchange of ideas. 

We, as a newsroom, strive to report accurate, fair news in service to our Elon community, but the electorate must participate, too. Exercise your freedom to vote this November. 

Whether you are submitting an absentee ballot or traveling directly to the polls, remember the significance of your vote to elect officials who will represent your values in state and federal governments. Don’t be easily swayed by media bias, and trust that we will continue to work toward bias-free reporting.

As student journalists, we strive to report information to hold our Elon community accountable. We hope that, with your vote, you will do the same for the federal offices representing our country.