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The U.S. is currently in an extremely fragile place. No matter what side you are on, the hate, death and division surrounding us is cause for concern. If you’re not troubled by our current state, there’s something wrong.

In our present political climate, voting is more important than ever. Unfortunately, our political system is extremely black and white in terms of who will be in authority. It is limited to only two parties, without any room for others to intercede.

Louisiana’s midterm election cycle has several amendments, including an amendment regarding Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury rule, and the office of Secretary of State on the ballot.

I applaud the University and organizations like Geaux Vote for being so proactive in encouraging the student body to vote. No matter how many people were annoyed by the reminders, it was a worthy cause.

Unfortunately, some people still don’t understand what’s at stake, as turnout for midterm elections are historically dismally low. Some chose to stand in line for lottery tickets, rather than completing a 10-minute online registration. No matter how much money you might have won, and likely didn’t, the country you belong to is still important.

I understand politics crisis not everyone’s thing. I personally don’t enjoy all of the complexities of it. However, on some level, we should all be involved. Being involved doesn’t mean watching CNN all day, tuning in for every press conference White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives or even, commenting on social media. Being involved means putting forth an effort in creating the country you’d like to see.

Being involved is especially important when it comes to statewide elections. The amendments on the ballot directly affect us. For example, an amendment to a jury law created during the Jim Crow-era with deeply racist roots is on the 2018 ballot. If voted through, the amendment would require all felony convictions to receive a unanimous jury decision starting in 2019. Louisiana is one of two states that still allows non-unanimous jury decisions, a practice that began to minimize newly elected black jurors’ impact.

These are the kind of issues that are at stake.

It’s easy to think only presidential elections matter. But, if the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that the popular vote doesn’t hold as much weight as so many wished it did. The current president is not in office because of who the citizens of the country voted for on Nov. 8, 2016, but because of who they did or didn’t vote to represent their state before.

This is where midterm elections come in. The electoral college is made up of those who we vote in to represent us. Our representatives are able to decide many things for us, so we must choose wisely.

Refraining from voting is as ignorant as it is irresponsible. You can’t complain about the condition of our state if you’re too careless to take the actions necessary to change it. It may be easy to ignore our state’s government and make excuses for political inactivity, but the impact of doing so is much harder to ignore.

Maya Stevenson is a 19-year-old English and economics sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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