Students are encouraged to vote in primary elections

By Corey Riner, Contributing Writer
As primary elections within West Virginia and the rest of the country begin, one can be led to question the importance of voting, especially during the primaries, which are often perceived as inferior or useless in comparison to the general elections.  This view, however, can’t be any further from the truth.  

Primary elections serve as an informal meet-and-greet between voters and potential candidates.  After the primary election takes place, only a handful of candidates, usually one Democrat and one Republican, are made relevant to the general population.  During the primaries, however, voters can hear from several Democrat and Republican candidates, along with third party representatives that may have a difficult time receiving national attention. 
This is the time in which voters can truly seek out all of their possibilities, as a greater number of candidates stand a chance at gaining fair coverage of their beliefs, opinions, and policies.
Aside from the importance of the primary elections, the act of voting itself, stands to suffer from the apathy of the general population.  Statistics show that during the 2016 general election, only 56 percent of the U.S. population voted, even though the percentage of registered voters in the country is 86 percent.  When comparing these findings to the voter turnout of other developed countries like Australia (79 percent), France (68 percent), and Mexico (66 percent), the United States looks rather inferior.  
Some of the more common excuses as to why people choose not to vote are, “My one vote won’t matter,” “I’m too busy to take time out of my day to support a stranger,” and “It takes too long.” 
While in certain instances these may be valid reasons for not voting, the majority of people using these excuses could benefit from hearing a famous quote from one of our country’s most prominent presidents, Abraham Lincoln. He said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Primary elections in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland occur on May 8, May 15 and June 26, respectively.
Photo credit: Daniel Morgan