Though it may not be widely known, there is an election coming up next week on matters of local politics for many people across the nation, including those in Bozeman. This is not a glamorous election, with no race for president at stake. However this election features offices that can be just as important as president over a smaller area, with increased vote impact due to fewer votes applying to each election. Unfortunately many of the students at MSU won’t vote in this election due to a feeling of distance from their home state. This is very shortsighted, and all students should vote in whatever state they have residence in, while remaining updated about politics in that region.
There are two ways to go about voting while at MSU, with one being to embrace temporary residence in Bozeman. Registering to vote in Gallatin County gives students a say in how the state and city governments are operated. We can best serve our interests as students by supporting issues and candidates that favor MSU. We live here eight months of the year anyway, so we should spend that time making our opinions known. The Bozeman Chronicle does an excellent job covering local and state candidates if you need more information about the candidates and laws being voted on.
Impending budget cuts at the state legislature make voting in Montana perhaps even more important than usual. We remain at risk for suffering an increase in tuition due to the roughly 10 percent decrease in the state budget that needs to occur. MSU students should remain informed about what choices are made by our representatives, and if registered to vote in Gallatin County, should respond to representatives’ decisions during the next election. If students are willing to vote more often, their voice can be heard more strongly during these vital debates.
The second way of staying involved is to register to vote in your home state, if you’re an out-of-state student, and keeping tabs on information about candidates remotely. Voting absentee is easy, and many intend to move back after graduation, so voting ensures you have a voice on shaping policies at home while away. Local initiatives and council positions are often at stake during these off-year elections that can shape everyday experiences, and no one wants to return to a place that has been changed for the worst, especially when there was an opportunity to provide input on that change.
Each election, not just the presidential ones, have impacts on the population. Students can ensure influence on their local communities by staying informed and voting.