Massachusetts Daily Collegian

In the upcoming election, there is more at stake than the presidency

By Joe Frank

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(Erica Lowenkron/ Daily Collegian)

(Erica Lowenkron/ Daily Collegian)

There’s an important election one week away and I’m guessing you’ve heard about it. The results on Nov. 8 will decide our next president and there of course has been plenty of talk as the public has endured a year-and-a-half-long process to choose the top candidate. We have chiseled down the field to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Throw in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein if you count the third-party candidates, or even Evan McMullin, who might have a chance in Utah.

Even with these options, many people feel disillusioned. Trump is a bigoted liar, Hillary is a corrupt liar and third-party votes don’t count. While many people staunchly back their candidate, many others do not know where to turn. For those who do not wish to vote at all this election, I implore you to still turn out to vote, despite the disheartening presidential election. There is more at stake than just the presidency.

This year there are 469 seats in the United States House of Representatives and Senate that are up for grabs.. Election Day could lead to immense changes on Capitol Hill depending on who is elected. With the exception of executive orders, it is Congress, not the president, who passes laws at the level of the federal government. For real change to occur on a nation-wide scale in the United States, it is beneficial to elect politicians to Congress who are likely to bring about change. Voting next week will allow voters a chance to elect those people.

Besides the presidential race, there are down-ballot elections that are just as important. Down-ballot elections are the elections that are smaller and more local than the federal races. While local and state governments do not receive the same attention of the national government, they still make crucial decisions. The elections for state and local governments are ways for voters to express their political opinions, even if those voters do not want to go near the presidential election.

In addition to the elections themselves, there are the ballot questions. In Massachusetts, there are four questions for citizens to vote on. The first three proposals concern gambling, education and animal confinement, respectively, but the question that is likely the most exciting to college students is Question 4, which if passed will legalize the recreational use of marijuana for people over 21 years of age. It will also allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated. This would take effect Dec. 15 of this year.

There is only one way to have a voice in any of these elections or on any of these issues, and that is to vote. There are early voting opportunities around campus and around town in the following days, and you can also vote by absentee ballot depending on where you are registered. Of course, you can always head to your polling place on Election Day. Make sure you know where you are registered and have read up on the issues. Even if the presidential race is unappealing, there are still reasons to vote and there are still important decisions to be made.

Joe Frank is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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