Everyone can make a political impact

Voting is fundamental to the process of creating change in our country. Simply abstaining from voting takes away your power to help elect representatives and enact legislation that reflects your values. Without your vote, the US fails to be a truly representative government. The individuals in positions of power are put there by us, the people, and their actions should reflect the wishes of everyone, not just a select few.

According to a CNN study, only 55 percent of citizens of voting age cast ballots during the 2016 election, the lowest voter turnout since 1996. While registered youth voters have increased by 16 percent between 2014 and the 2018 election, this is still not representative of the American people. Voter suppression is actively silencing people of color, poor, and disabled citizens through voter ID laws, poll closures, long lines and a lack of accessibility at polling locations, preventing all populations from having equal opportunity to cast their vote.

Although often overshadowed by the intensity of the presidential election, positions on the Thousand Oaks City Council and CVUSD School Board are also on the ballot. These local governing bodies have the ability to enact serious change, but eligible voters must educate themselves on who will best represent our community, and vote accordingly. (To learn more about the school board candidates and how their stances will impact students, look towards our interviews with the candidates running on pages 8-9.)

Now is the time to step up. Educate yourself on the platforms of our local, state and federal candidates and make an informed decision. Check and then double-check that your voter registration is submitted by October 19. Go to https://covr.sos.ca.gov/ to get started, or to pre-register if you are at least 16 years of age.

In an election cycle as historic as this one, you are especially responsible for fulfilling your civic duty. With our country more polarized than ever, the incurrence of our individual rights is more important now than ever before.

And for those of us who are not yet of voting age, not all hope is lost. Continue to use your influence and speak out about the issues that affect you and your peers. While it can be frustrating to not be able to directly participate in the democratic system, your voice has the power to influence those who can. 

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