Columns,Editorial,From the Desk of the Editor

From the desk of the editor: continuing civic engagement

27 Mar , 2016  

Austin Hornbostel is a senior communication major from Kansas City, Mo.

Austin Hornbostel is a senior communication major from Kansas City, Mo.

The March 15 Missouri primary came and went, and I — unfortunately — couldn’t vote.

I was excited and ready to be civically engaged, but I received a letter from the Adair County Clerk’s office shortly after turning in my online voter registration application and didn’t find it under a pile of letters in my kitchen until after the voter registration deadline. The letter said there was something missing from my online application — an e-signature. Apparently, I was supposed to click and drag to “write” my signature online.

Go figure. You’d think they’d clearly mark these things and inform you that you absolutely can’t vote without them, right?

Regardless, a clerical error that was all my fault — more or less — was all that prevented me from doing my duty as a young Missourian and American. I was disappointed I couldn’t cast my vote and make a difference, so I didn’t bother re-registering.

I’m totally kidding, by the way. I read the letter and immediately got online and filled out my voter application a second time, e-signature included. It’s important for young voters like me who made a small mistake — either on their end or on the state’s end — and missed out on voting to recognize it’s not too late to have a voice.

I saw a lot of posts from my friends and acquaintances online on the day of the primary complaining about clerical errors like misspelled names on voter identification cards that prevented them from voting, or errors that complicated the process like a failed address change that forced them to drive back to their hometown just to go to the polls. Unfortunately, these things happen during the process of registering to vote, and online registration is especially susceptible to these issues because it’s a newer way of completing the registration process.

That being said, maybe you missed out on voting during the primary as a result of some of the clerical errors I’ve mentioned — hopefully not that lame e-signature technicality I experienced, though. There’s an easy remedy here — just get registered and vote during the Missouri state primary election Aug. 2. The deadline to register is July 6. If you’re already registered, go out and make your voice heard in the General Municipal Election April 5.

If you did vote, maybe your candidate didn’t win. In Missouri, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump won. However, there’s an important fact to consider about their wins — both candidates won by only 0.2 percent. That means Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz supporters still can make a world of difference for two candidates who were part of a very tight race in this state. The state primaries don’t automatically guarantee candidates their party nomination, so that alone should be enough to spur reinvigorated support for your chosen presidential candidate.

If you’re especially passionate, now is the time to remember Truman State is made up of students from more than just Missouri. If you or a friend aren’t registered in Missouri, your state might still have an upcoming primary. Even though our neighbors from Kansas, Iowa and Illinois have voted already, Truman students hail from many other locales and should have a voice during the political process all the same. You might even have a friend who’s undecided about who to support and lives in a state such as Wisconsin or Indiana, where the primaries have not yet taken place. Talk to them about getting involved and choosing a candidate, whether it’s the one you support or one they do.

Ultimately, a candidate’s viability comes down to their supporters and a lack of complacency. Will you give up on who you think is best for America because you were turned away at the primary or because your candidate came up short? Or will your passion for that candidate’s policies and belief in their ability to get the job done make you more determined to turn undecided friends and acquaintances toward your candidate? The choice is yours to make. Either way, don’t knowingly remove yourself from the political process.

Austin Hornbostel is a senior communication major from Kansas City, Mo.

This editorial originally appeared in the March 24 Index. Be sure to pick up a copy on newsstands now.

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