A Capitol Experience

The first thing you’ll notice at the Kansas State Capitol are the many men and women in suits walking around with a purpose. These aren’t just random people, these are leaders that *represent* entire groups and populations around the state.

[One thing that many people forget about our government is the fact that it is representative. To really help others understand politics, one must understand that term. To represent someone or something, one must RE-present the ideas of those they are serving.]

During my experience in Topeka, my peers and I met with multiple lawmakers. Of these lawmakers, Rep. Willie Dove was one of them.

Rep. Dove represents District 38 and is a known Republican. One bill that he is very adamant about currently is one that would move the election date for all offices -which includes city councils and school boards- from the spring to November to coincide with the general elections on every even year which would also require partisan ballots.

For the larger parties and all the parties known as “Republican,” this is great news. Democrats fail to see the inherent problem with the status quo at the moment. Partisan ballots would also allow for more candidate spending which, depending on your ideology, is a pro/con.

Arguments have been made in favor and against this bill for many reasons, but of the most debated topics, voter turnout has been the most popular.

Some surveys claimed that voter turnout dipped below 7% of the population* for city council and school board elections. [*Unrelated political note: 7% of the population also favored the notoriously lazy 113th United States Congress at one point during 2013*]

Voter turnout is a huge problem throughout the state and nation. How can a representative democracy be accurate if it does not accurately represent its people? This question, although simple enough, seems to stump many politicians unwilling to confront it.

As many students at Basehor-Linwood know, they are coming of voting age. This should not be brushed off. This is a badge of honor and a responsibility to confront the problems of the collective and the few. This right to vote is not merely a right, but also a privilege that allows us to change local and even national problems.

Before we take advantage of this ability, we first must educate ourselves on politics. To do that, make yourself aware of news. This affects all of us, and besides that, it is actually interesting. There are people who have the same opinions as you in office somewhere, but you may never know who to support because you are not educated on the subject.

My point: get educated and we will avoid the problems that others struggle with. Maybe someday you will be one of those important men or women walking with confidence and responsibility throughout the Capitol.