OPINION: Get registered for local elections

Austin Belet, Opinions Writer

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Feb. 19 is the final day to register for the Duval County municipal elections, set to be held on March 19. This election is going to entail local positions from Mayor all the way down to
City Council members.

Many of us tend to neglect the importance of these elections because we believe that the power lies in federal or state office. The truth of the matter is that with municipal politics we are able to make powerful and dramatic changes to our direction as a community.

Jacksonville has called itself “The Bold New City of the South” and yet we haven’t given most of our youth a reason to stay. We have a huge problem with our young people up and leaving the city as soon as they have a way out. How do we fix it?

We vote.

When I say we, I mean we the students. The people who are inevitably going to inherit the future of this city, state, and country. It takes all of us getting out to the polls and making sure
that we cast a ballot for the people we think best represent our values. It takes us learning about the people on our ballot and taking the time to cast votes that actually matter.

This election cycle features some hot elections, between the Mayor’s race (which is being run with three Republicans and an NPA), several seats featuring completely fresh faces, and a few
districts with several candidates in the race which will inevitably carry into a run-off. We have some crazy amounts of money being invested in municipal elections that we had seldom seen before.

Clearly, someone thinks these races matter.

But students don’t have money to invest, we barely have time. But what we can do is vote. We fought tooth and nail against Mike Hogan (who is going unopposed in his re-election bid) to
finally get an early polling site established at UNF. Granted, this polling site is tucked off into one of the most inaccessible corners of UNF, but hey at least we have one, right? Why don’t we
make use of this polling site? Why don’t we show the City of Jacksonville that UNF and its students matter and deserve to be heard properly?

Let’s not sit on our hand any longer. Let’s find our way to the ballot box and make sure we are heard. If you aren’t registered, get registered. If your friend isn’t registered, get them registered. It falls on our shoulders to make sure that we are actually being heard. Let’s make sure we vote, but first, let’s make sure everyone is registered.

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