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Editorial: New York needs you to vote tomorrow

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Tomorrow is election day. If you’re not a New York resident, you’ve probably already registered to vote in your home state and sent in your absentee ballot. But if you are, tomorrow is your chance to go to the polls in person and cast your vote in this year’s midterm elections, if you haven’t already.

And it is very important that you vote.

During midterm elections, citizens elect government officials and representatives to Congress. State governors are responsible for legislation at the state level, which this year will address issues including: abortion rights and legalization of cannabis. Midterm elections don’t directly affect the presidency, but they change the party balance in Congress, which means it can be more difficult to pass federal law. Midterm elections also allow voters to express indirectly their opinion of the president and set a benchmark for political leaders in 2024 during the next presidential election.

But despite all these factors, many voters, especially adults in college, do not vote in midterm elections. The 2020 presidential election took place historical turnout of 66.8% of votersbut the previous midterm elections in 2018 had just over 50% — smaller than in the presidential elections, and only half of the registered voters, although it is a record. People don’t see the midterms as less important. But the Democrats — the president’s party — are expected to lose the House, and especially in New York, there’s no margin for error.

New York is considered one of the most liberal and safest blue-collar places in the country, but it is potentially before the red future. Kathy Hachul, the incumbent governor, appears the fourth consecutive Democratic governor — and instead of being safely ahead, she is closely compete with Republican candidate Lee Zeldin, recent polls show. Hachul, who took over from former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resignation last year, did a good job during the year she was in office. Mostly unknown at the start of her tenure, Hachul has been a champion ever since stricter gun laws and codified abortion into state law.

Zeldin, her rival, humiliated his anti-abortion history and support for former President Donald Trump. He promised to call a state of emergency on crimes, suspending cashless bail and likely increasing the police presence. Republican congressional candidates in New York, too gaining steam in areas they haven’t done before, like the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

The race is tighter than usual, and for the first time in more than a decade, the New York governorship is not guaranteed to be blue. With a flash of red in sight, Republican voters will be flocking to the polling booths. Balanced voter turnout is critical to ensuring that New York City’s elected officials represent the views of the majority of voters, not just those who showed up to vote.

So you need to go vote tomorrow if you’re a New Yorker. It’s easy to say that individual votes don’t matter in historically blue or historically red states, but New York’s gubernatorial election is no longer guaranteed, and your vote is critical to the decision.

In the long run, there are ways to help in addition to voting. Volunteering with campaigns, drafting or signing petitions for activist groups, and even protesting can be effective methods for change. But midterm voting is the bare minimum because politicians are defined by that outcome, and so are their policies. The midterm elections set the precedent for the presidential election two years later—make sure the precedent is the one you want.

Tomorrow will be a better opportunity for your voice to be heard. Don’t waste it. Go vote.

The Opinion section of WSN aims to publish ideas worthy of discussion. The opinions expressed in the editorial reflect the views of WSNs Editorial board.

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