The 2018 Primary Election is approaching, and the results of this election will help determine local and state governmental representation. Voters will read candidate proposals and conclude which candidates they feel is best fit to represent them. The leaders chosen by the people can have a real impact on the daily lives of their constituents; thus, constituents should be made aware of the voting process.
There are several key dates in the election process. April 14, 2018 was the last day to register to vote. If you missed the deadline, you can still register and be admitted to vote in the next election. Legally, it’s completely up to you whether you would like to register in West Chester, Pa. or at your own residence, though you cannot be registered in two different locations.
May 8, 2018 is also an important date: It’s the last day to apply for an absentee ballot. Many college students who reside in West Chester during the academic year utilize this option. Applications for an absentee ballot are due by 5 p.m. on May 8.
If you have an absentee ballot, the last day to return those is May 11 by 5 p.m. Other than that, if you’re going out to your polling place to vote on Election Day, that’ll be on Tuesday, May 15. On that day, you have the opportunity to vote any time between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. As long as you get in line before 8 p.m., you’re entitled to cast your vote.
According to Hans van Mol, WCU alum and current president of the Chester County Young Democrats, “This year’s primary is extra important because 2018 is the year that Democrats will also be choosing representatives (known as “Committee People” or “CPs”) to both the Chester County Democratic Committee (CCDC) and the State Democratic Party. Each of the 200+ precincts in Chester County elects two Democrats to represent their area in the CCDC, and these CPs are empowered with choosing which candidates the party endorses, who the officers of CCDC will be and what the overall direction and platform of the party will be.”
In the same way, if you’re Republican, you also have the opportunity to vote for who will serve you in your local state committee. Ultimately, as Mol described, these Committee People can end up having a huge impact on your respective party’s platform and will serve directly as your local representative.
Along with voting for Committee People, on this ballot you will also be voting for U.S. Senate positions, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State House of Representatives positions and State Senate positions (in some areas). All of these positions are extremely important, as these people all have a say in making decisions and creating reforms that will impact our lives.
Mol wanted to emphasize that “2018 is the first time we millennials have the largest say on how we want our community to look and what we want it to stand for. However, we only can have our say if we get out and vote. As we’ve seen time and time again over the last 2 years, your vote matters.”
Thomas Donohue, Executive Director of the Republican Committee of Chester County, explains, “In the 2016 election only 18 percent of 18-29 year olds exercised their rights to vote.
I think rather than sitting back and complaining, it’s critical that young people get engaged, learn about the issues and make educated choices in the ballot box.”
Donohue also wanted to add that “political civility is sorely lacking in society today. The name calling, fear-mongering and bullying that goes on in the political arena is foolish and doesn’t serve to advance the common good. I think younger voters really need to consider what type of country they want to inherent and begin to challenge this status quo. Statesmanship is coming together in spite of differences, finding common ground, and moving forward. A return to this I would argue would best serve our nation.”
If you want to help change aspects of our country that are important to you, voting is a direct way to do that. In the past few years, state officials have won elections by just a handful of votes, including former Mayor of West Chester Carolyn Comitta, who is now serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. So, if you’re registered and have an informed opinion of the candidates running, you can get your absentee ballot filled out and submitted or get to the polls on May 15.
Ryan Kutzler is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in music and journalism. ✉ RK821378@wcupa.edu.