In 2014, Brunswick candidate for the Maine House of Representatives Ralph Tucker won the Democratic primary by 10 votes. In 2016, Maine voters passed a referendum on marijuana legalization by a margin of less than four thousand votes.
But in the 2014 midterm election, only 16 percent of eligible Bowdoin students voted. That means that roughly 1,450 did not exercise their constitutional right to affect our country’s future. It is a margin large enough to tighten—or even alter—election results. While this year’s midterms may not seem as high-stakes as the presidential election, there are close races and important ballot measures across the country.
Take Maine’s ballot as an example. Gubernatorial candidates differ on issues that will inevitably affect students and the people we care about—determining the extent of reproductive rights, funding the public schools where students tutor and expanding Medicaid to 70,000 Mainers.
Over the past two years, many Bowdoin students have been enraged by the actions of our government. The most tangible way to channel that rage is to vote for candidates who will enact the change students desire. The very short amount of time that it takes to vote could create meaningful changes in your life and the lives of others.
And voting is easy. For students voting in Brunswick, the polling place is Brunswick Junior High—a leisurely walk or a short drive away. On election day, campus representatives from several groups will be tabling to inform students of their voting rights, driving students to the polls and mailing absentee ballots. If you are at all doubtful about the voting process, approach one of these students and ask for help. No question is too simple.
Bowdoin students often say that they are uneasy about voting because they are uninformed about issues. Staying uninformed is an active choice. Information is accessible, and ample research takes less than an hour. Campus representatives can quickly bring students up to speed on most races in this country.
If you haven’t registered, if you haven’t thought about this at all until reading this editorial, you can still register to vote in Maine on election day. All you need to bring is the last four digits of your social security number and your OneCard. If you have already voted or have a plan to vote, it’s a good time to talk to your friends and bring them to the polls with you.
Voting matters, and it is not too late. Showing up on Tuesday will make a difference. See you at the polls.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is composed of Nell Fitzgerald, Dakota Griffin, George Grimbilas, Calder McHugh, Devin McKinney and Jessica Piper.