Why voting in the 2018 Elections is something we must do
Amber LaBonte – Staff writer
On November 6th, voters faced critical choices that had the ability to shape our country for years to come. After the 2016 presidential elections and campaigns left the nation torn, this year’s midterm elections certainly had a significant impact on the way the United States government works and impacts the lives of it’s citizens.
The midterm elections are held halfway through a president’s time in office and impact how each state is represented in government. Through these elections, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the seats within the Senate have the potential to change, with winners determined by the popular voting system.
In the Senate, there are 35 seats, 26 of which are filled by Democrats running for possible re-election. Currently, the Republican party has 51 seats. On the state level, there are 36 seats, with 26 seats occupied by Republicans. If the Democrats win this fight, they can take control of both the Senate and the House and represent a more liberal stance in these areas.
Midterm elections are important because they help to determine power, giving voters the opportunity to change what party has the majority to exercise this power. For the past four years, there has been a Republican majority represented in our government. In this election, the Democrats would only need to win two more seats in the Senate and 23 seats in the House in order to regain control. There are just two years left in President Trump’s term in office; the outcome of this midterm election could change his power, as we know it.
This year, there are many different issues Americans feel quite passionate about. The biggest issues addressed on the Massachusetts’ ballot deal with health care, funding and control of political campaigns and gender identity rights. Massachusetts is a largely Democratic state. With a Democratic majority, there will be a greater chance for us, as Mass. residents, to voice our opinions and address the issues currently found in our mostly Republican-controlled government.
As the results begin to come in and the opportunity to vote comes to a close, it appears that most Massachusetts residents are against Question 1 and for Questions 2 and 3. A no on Question 1 would reject the proposal to establish a limit on the nurse-patient ratio within hospitals [and other healthcare facilities]—[results show that the] benefits of such a policy were unclear to many voters concerned with the future of public health issues and patient care. A yes on Question 2 would help create a citizens commission to control how political campaigns are run and funded, an issue many voters are clearly concerned about due to increased reports on political corruption. Lastly, a yes on Question 3 will help to protect gender identity rights, especially for members of the LGBTQ-plus community.
Voting is an important responsibility and should not be taken lightly. As citizens of our country, voting allows us to make our voices heard. While some may feel as though it does not matter, how and if we choose to vote can alter our country’s policies and situation dramatically, as the results of the 2018 midterms have come to show us.
The results of the 2018 Massachusetts Ballot Questions are as follows:
Question 1— The majority voted no; changes will not be made in the current laws relative to patient-to-nurse limits in hospitals and other health care facilities.
Question 2— The majority voted yes; a citizens commission to advance an amendment to the United States Constitution to limit the influence of money in elections and establish that corporations do not have the same rights of human beings will be established.
Question 3— The majority voted no; the current law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation, will be kept in place.
Amber LaBonte, a sophomore, studies English. She is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.