Why Your Vote is Critical in State Elections

By: Hannah Stoughton

On Nov. 8th, 2022, citizens of Pennsylvania will turn up at polls to vote on who will hold the next positions of Governor, Senator, House Representatives, and lawmakers within the state government. The elections of these positions are based solely on the vote of the population, making it extremely important that anyone who is eligible for it, to vote.

The state governments are what effects citizens most. Though the federal government does pass policies that affect citizens across the country, such as a federal minimum wage for states to abide by, the state government is far more influential in the daily lives of its citizens. State and local governments control things like public parks and recreational areas, public work, first responder services, libraries, education, rent and housing costs, taxes, and much more. When state elections happen, policies, funding, and beliefs about these aspects of life, as well as many others, can be affected heavily by the outcome of the election.

When voting, it is important to understand who exactly you are voting for. It is nearly impossible that one would ever find a candidate that perfectly matches their own political ideologies, but finding the one that they have most in common with is important. With the recent overturning of Roe. V. Wade and abortion rights being determined by states, it is easy for voters to become “single-issue voters,” or voters that vote solely on how they feel about one issue. Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for Governor, has promised to fight for abortion rights while in office, while Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate, has promised to ban abortion in the state of Pennsylvania. Though this issue is extremely important and pressing, it is key that people do not vote based only on this issue. Being an uninformed voter is almost more dangerous than not voting at all, as you may have no idea who you are truly voting for if you only pay attention to one issue.

Another dangerous aspect of voting is the idea of voting “blue/red all the way down!” This means that no matter who the candidate is, registered Democrats should only vote for Democratic candidates, and registered Republicans should only vote for Republican candidates. Though this is how informed voters usually end up voting, the difference is that they are informed of all of the candidates and know that they want those candidates in office. The continuous urge for voters to vote based on single issues or simply because of a party can be damaging to the system and the outcomes of elections and, overall, the well-being of citizens.

With the recent presidential elections, it is very easy to feel as though your vote does not matter. You may have been told that voting “does not work,” or that it is “ineffective,” particularly recently since the state elections have become a popular point of conversation. In terms of local elections, this statement is wrong and extremely damaging. The idea that voting is not important directly leads to smaller voter turnouts, potentially skewing the election in a way that does not truly represent the belief of the masses.

The vote for the Pennsylvania elections is on Tuesday, Nov. 8th, 2022. This election is critical to the future of Pennsylvanians. To find information on your local polling place, visit https://www.vote.pa.gov/pollingplace and make sure you turn out to vote for the next officials of Pennsylvania!

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