Does My Vote Count? The Importance of Voting in Off-Year Elections

Informing Your Conscience in “Off-Year” Elections

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

What is an off-year election? An off-year election is a general election that is held when neither a presidential election nor a midterm election takes place. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to midterm election years. When people in the United States think of voting they often think of participating in the national presidential election. However, the city, county and state elections, as well as congressional races can be just as important as presidential elections. The local races in small townships, villages or cities are often determined by just a few votes. So yes, your vote does count. It is true that your vote may have less of an impact in the general presidential election; but it can have a very large and more direct affect in the local or county elections.

Your Vote Greatly Influences Local Elections
There are many other elected positions on various levels that affect the everyday lives of the American people, but all too often many Americans sit on the sidelines during midterm or off-year elections. Important contests such as state governor and mayoral races to city council and school board have a major impact on the day to day lives of average citizen. Local elections can affect school funding, property taxes, zoning, law enforcement, educational curriculum, city parks and recreation, local businesses, waste collection, sports arenas, public health, charity and benevolence, religious centers, abortion debates, adult business zoning, marijuana laws, and many more aspects of our daily lives. Thus, it is very important that every American citizen educate themselves on the candidates and vote intelligently. This is a major component of a democratic society, an essential component of a successful democracy.

Previous Democracy and Me Articles on Elections
As we have said, with the upcoming election season it is important that people understand the important role informed citizens play  when exercising their right to vote. In light of it being election season I would like to draw the reader’s attention to previous articles we have done on the Democracy and Me site around the topic of elections and voting.
Two such articles are entitled Congressional, State, and  Local Elections Voting in a Democracy- Lessons on Voter Suppression and What are the Midterm Elections All About? A resource that also offers good information about local elected offices is Who Runs the Show? Understanding Your Local Government.

Research Your Options and Vote
It is important that people get out to vote and not simply wait for the presidential election. Here is a good resource to find important information about voting and upcoming elections in your hometown. Also, below I have included some resources on elections and voting that can help voters better understand the issues and also receive some general information about the democratic process. I will also provide resources for teachers to use to inform students about voting in their classrooms.

Off Year Election Resources
So, You Want To Run For Local Office
Off-Year Elections
United States Midterm Election
Understanding Congressional, State, and Local Elections
Off-Year Election Preview: Is It All About Partisanship?
What is an Off-Year Election?

Voting Lesson Plans
Off-year Election Lessons
Elections and Civics Lesson Plan
Citizen Advocacy Center
Ten Ways to Teach About Election Day
Mini-lesson: Midterm Elections (HS)
Do the midterm elections matter? – Worksheet
Seven Ways to Teach the Midterms With The New York Times


  1. I think this is a very important thing to bring up in discussions. My sister turned 18 last month, and said “I can vote soon”. That is scary. My mother asked her “What are the issues that you’d be voting for?”, and my sister just looked at her dumbfounded. I think this piece should be read by every young person that will be voting. They need to understand the election, and what they’re voting for, before they vote. This was a great article that explained very important things to understand about the voting system on an off year.

    • I am guilty when it comes to thinking, “My vote will barley count for anything.” But I still went out and voted today because it is my right that MANY women fought for. This article needs to be read by everyone. It serves as a great reminder why the off-year elections are just as important as the presidential elections. Local elections can affect so many aspects of our daily lives such as property taxes, school funding, educational curriculum, city parks and recreation, local businesses, religious centers, marijuana laws, and more. Which is why it is just as important to educate yourself on the candidates and vote for the person whose ideas you support. Vote for change!

  2. I found this article to be a very interesting read given that I will be voting tomorrow for my townships ‘off-year’ election. I found that two of the three issues/topics on the ballot only have one candidate running so I believe this could be one of the issues contributing to people not voting. I still plan to go vote as I believe it is important to vote even if just on the one issue with multiple candidates (school board members). I believe it is very important to vote in all elections but as mentioned in the article it is true that each individual vote matters even more in these ‘off-year’ elections. I think this is something that should be a more talked about subject, as when I was younger I didn’t even learn about these elections/when they happened. I only ever remember teachers and adults talking about the presidential elections and it is important that we are all well-informed and vote based on this information (regardless of opinions or political parties, it is crucial that everyone votes).

  3. Voting on “off-year” elections is often overlooked and not stressed nearly as hard as presidential or midterm elections. However, as you mentioned, they impact our lives on a much larger scale and our votes go much farther in these elections. Local police and officials will be far more interactive and helpful to you. Citizens either forget to vote in these elections of choose not to and that is unfortunate. Not passing your school levy has very big implications and issues like property tax, marijuana, and more will have a much larger immediate impact on citizens. Therefore, we need to educate ourselves and make sure we participate in the elections to create change on local levels and then see it nationally. Creating good citizens is the goal of social studies and that certainly means voting in “off-year” elections.

    • I really appreciate this article! I had an amazing government teacher in high school who always put importance on our right to vote. I am constantly telling my family and friends to go vote, no matter what election it is! This year I just took my parents with me to make sure that they went and voted. I also think it’s important to note that you can’t complain if you don’t go out and vote for what you believe in. Lastly, it’s important to make sure you’re an educated voter and that you are aware of who and what you are voting for.

  4. This article was very interesting to me. I honestly don’t know much about voting. In my own household the presidential election is a big deal but the off-year elections aren’t talked about as much. I often have caught myself in the thought process that my vote doesn’t count but this article is a good reassurance but it does count and can make an even bigger impact in the local elections. One big take away from voting as a citizen and this article is being an educated citizen nd doing your research before voting. Don’t be a blind voter.

  5. This article is very important because people tend to forget how much their vote impacts things within their state, community, and neighborhood. Voting in “off-year” elections is often overlooked, however, it is the only election that affects citizens on a much larger scale than other elections. “Off-year” elections affects citizens day to day lives voting on issues like property taxes, marajuana legalization, and passing school levees. So, don’t forget to vote!!

  6. I found this article very insightful. I think a lot of students that are just coming to the age that they’re able to vote, they don’t think it matters. Not only do they think it doesn’t matter, they don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on in politics. I think that modern day politics should be talked about more often in high schools so that when those students are able to vote, they know exactly who they wanted to vote for. While this can be tricky for teachers, they should be instructed on how to inform students without imposing their opinion on them. This should be quite simple if someone explains to them a good way to do it.

  7. I believe that every election we should vote. I think this because people have gone out to war and have fought for our right to vote. Even as a woman, I plan to get educated and go out and vote because that is my right to do so. People fought in the past to have the right to vote as a woman. I think it is also important because the off season election helps the community and those votes affect our schools, parks, streets, and everything around us. As a future teacher, I take those rights completely seriously because those votes will affect the schools that I will hopefully be in. I think everyone needs to be educated and vote for the off season because those affect us directly and the people in our community.

  8. I think a lot of people take advantage when it comes to voting, I sometimes think that I take advantage of it because I have the outlook of my vote won’t make a difference and I feel like I’m not informed on a lot of the things that are being voted on in the elections so I don’t feel like I should vote at times. I remember in high school when everyone in my grade turned 18, we were all required to sign up to vote in the election, it counted as a grade. I want to make sure that when it comes to voting in polls in the future that I educate myself more on the people and issues that are being voted on in the polls though. I want to make sure that I am more informed on what I am voting for and I fully understand them. This article really made me think about how my vote does make a difference.

  9. I always try to vote in midterm elections even when I am living an hour and half way from home because I feel like they are still important even though they aren’t voting for a president. This one feels especially important because living from Kentucky we will be voting for our govenor today and as a future teacher who’s pension is at risk I want to make sure my voice will be heard. Even though people don’t vote as much on midterms they should if they can because women and people of color have worked so hard in the past to get us this right. Midterm elections can affect many day to day things such as zoning and school funding which are very important and will affect us directly.

  10. Growing up, I knew a lot about the Presidential election. My parents discussed the importance and their opinions a lot. They, however, didn’t discuss off-year elections as much. As I got older, especially in government class in High School, I learned about local elections and their importance. I don’t think these elections are stressed as much as they should be. Especially because these elections can come down to one vote. It’s very important to research these local candidate to make sure you are making the best decision for your community. 

  11. I think this is an extremely important topic. This off-year election in particular comes to mind. As a future educator, this election for the state of Kentucky is incredibly important and could change a lot about my future career in the next few years. However, this goes for every off-year election, not just this one. It is important to educate yourself enough to make a sound decision when voting because as we know, voting is a huge responsibility and is not something that should be taken lightly. The governor, for example, can make lots of things happen for many citizens of your state so it is important to know who the candidates are and what they stand for before making your vote. I think that the overarching idea of this is just that your vote truly DOES matter!

  12. It is good that people are so knowledgable about the Presidential election, however, off-year elections can be just as important. This off-year election is extremely important to me because it could lead to changes for my profession, all of which will hopefully be good changes and ones that could not happen if the people that are currently in charge, stay in charge. It is our duty as citizens to go out and use our rights as a democracy to make our voices heard. If we are not happy with those in charge, we have a chance to change it. It is important to remember this during all elections, and not just when it comes to electing the President of the United States.

  13. Voting is one of the many civic freedoms we, as Americans, get to exercise. No matter the election, its important to put forth the time and effort to make yourself knowledgable about the candidates. A lot of people complain about of official leaders but when asked if they voted often times they will say “no I don’t care about politics” or “I didn’t have time” plus many more, they had the chance for their voice to be heard and they choose to ignore one of their greatest rights. My senior year of high school I was enrolled in a government class, before this class I was the type of person that would say “I don’t care about politics” but after taking that class and learning about the amount of impact one vote can have, I’ve learned to embrace and celebrate my freedoms and educate myself on our current or future political leaders. This is a topic I strongly feel that everyone should be educated on. I hope that more people will have a enlightened experience much like I had.

  14. This is something I can relate to, being someone who typically leans democratic in a majority republican state, I often find myself wondering why bother with voting. This specific election, Bevin vs. Beshear, I felt very passionate about, as a future teacher, Bevin has taken several stances against Educators. Much to my chagrin, Beshear, a democratic candidate, actually won Kentucky, cementing my belief that my vote does matter.

  15. I have honestly never been into voting. I grew up in a small village and we always knew who was going to win and what was going to pass because majority of the community was family or related somehow. I think this article is very intriguing because I will tell on myself, I have always had the mindset that my vote doesn’t count but after this article I now understand that off year voting is very important and should be expressed more in late middle and early high school settings.

  16. I have read this article in the wake of Andy Beshear winning the Kentucky governor seat by 5,189 votes, and I think this alone proves the notion that your vote matters (at the state level at the very least). Voting is optional, but it is a civic duty and I think the American education system has failed us in making so many of us believe that the presidency is our most important election, it isn’t. I really liked this article because it recognizes the importance of the informed voter, just last night at work I was talking about the election to a girl my age and she said “People ask me why I like Trump and I tell them I don’t keep up with all that stuff, I’m a republican, that’s all I know” I was dumbfounded, not because we had opposing views but because she claimed to have views when she knew nothing about politics and said she did not want to, it was evident these “views” she had most likely came from the mouths of her parents, and I felt embarrassed that this girl and I could be voting on the same issues as me and know absolutely nothing about them. It is so important to be an informed voter, if you aren’t it is better that you don’t do so at all, in my opinion. I think the unfortunate reality is the American culture has turned politics unto this bloodbath, where most people are in a happy middle but must fight for one of two extremes because of our two party system, people often can’t talk politics without it ending friendships or relationships, so they don’t and in these things we have bread and an apathetic voter population who loves to complain, but in order to see change we must vote and we must vote with a knowledge of what we are voting for and against, and we must vote in off year elections as these elections often affect the daily lives of Americans more than presidential ones, and our votes matter more. In order to fix our voter culture and the systems we don’t like we must encourage voting and positive and impactful debate.

  17. As of the time that I am writing this comment, it is beyond certain that every single vote counts, and anyone can change the influences in their community and those who represent their best interests. The actions of local leaders have a much greater effect on our daily lives, but the Presidential race always recieves much more attention from people. Recently, it seems as if every candidate and policy has been reviewed by thousands of voters. Social media has no doubt encouraged others to vote and spread that message in a way that wasnt possible even twenty years ago.

  18. I had an actually never heard the term off year election until reading this article. I did not know an off-year election was a general election that is held when neither a presidential election nor a midterm election takes place.I thinking voting is an important responsibility as a citizen and I completely agree that our votes carry much more value in local races then they do in the presidential election. I have always felt like my vote really didn’t count when previously voting. After seeing some of the results in Kentucky last night I realized that every vote really counts as some of the races were extremely close.

  19. It has been a major theme discussed in class about the importance of teaching our students the importance of civics and one of the most important civic duties we have is voting. I think we as social studies teachers need to find ways to get kids more interested in this civic duty because it’s something that I didn’t care much for until recently and see the value in now that I’m older. My goal is to get kids to start thinking about this earlier than I did and I would like to do more research on ways I can do this. 

  20. I did not know these type of elections were called Off-Year Elections. This article is interesting because it opened my eyes to the true importance of the local elections and voting for your local representatives. I’m not completely knowledgable on voting but I realize that these types of elections can be even more important than a presidential election. These are the types of changes that are going to be made in our surrounding community and these changes come fast. It is good to remember that voting is very important no matter what type of election and for those who think their one vote doesn’t matter, there are thousands more probably with the same mindset.

  21. I am 20 and I still have not participated in voting in any election until now. I turned 18 after the presidential election, so I couldn’t vote then, and I haven’t voted in an off year election until this year. I sadly don’t keep up with politics. I have never really paid attention to what the running candidates stand for or what their campaign is about. I do really want to start voting now though. I do know what I stand for and how I feel. I followed this past election and was able to vote. I look forward to voting in the next election.

  22. With a recent election, the topic of voting has been very relevant lately. The right to vote is such a privilege that we often overlook. Aside from any other motive, the intensity required in the freedom and opportunity to vote should be a motivation alone. To think that this was a right that only certain individuals used to be entitled to is unfathomable. I am so appreciative that I live in a country where my voice is heard and I don’t have to face oppression in expressing my right to vote. I have now voted twice since I’ve turned 18 and it is pretty empowering. Opinions are simply meaningless and ineffective if individuals don’t act upon them. For example, I have many friends of my own who certainly had an input on who they wanted to win the election, and yet they were too lazy to vote. That is simply mind-blowing to me. I think with the results of the recent election and how close the votes were, it was very telling of the importance of ones vote. Especially with the fact that the state of Kentucky is a dominantly and historically conservative state. This is so important, and I hope everyone comes to find that.

  23. I remember when I turned 18 that I fully believed voting did not matter because my voice and my opinions would not be heard. This is because I identify as a democrat in a very republican state. However, this year I went out to vote as it it my civic duty, and I want to honor the women before who fought so hard to be able to vote. This past election proved that voting matters as we put Andy Beshear, a democrat, in to office, instead of Matt Bevin, a republican, in a very close race. This election emphasized the importance of voting. I know for me personally, I will continue to exercise my right to vote, even as a minority in the state I live in, because every vote truly does matter. While voting is very important, it is more important to be an informed voter. Going in blindly and voting for people you do not know what they stand for can cause more harm than good.

  24. Voting at a local level is very important. Like the article stated, much of those diction will directly affect our day to day lives, because we are voting for people in power for our local community. I personally push people to vote more for these elections than I do for the presidential elections. We experienced last year first hand the power the governor had when he took away a lot of school funding that directly impacting our teachers and schools. In this election we have to voice to change who is in power and who can make laws that affect us and our future. This year the election came down to the wire with Democrats winning by only a few thousand votes, it was almost a tie. But it was the people who cared enough to come out and vote that threw the balance off enough to win.

  25. As a political science major, voting has become super important to me. This is the second year in a row where I’ve requested off work to drive to Lexington and cast my vote in person. I agree with you, that most people only turnout to vote during Presidential elections. This is ironic because the elections whose results have the most opportunity to directly impact us are the state and local elections. State and local officials have more opportunity to listen and communicate their constituents’ needs to the legislature and translate these needs into policy.
    I also agree with the sentiment that a lot of people don’t believe their vote ‘counts’, so they opt to just not participate. This isn’t beneficial because, as you said, local elections can be decided by just a few votes.

  26. I understand that off-year elections play a vital part in our local government. Unfortunately, I believe these candidates are less publicized then candidates for national matters. I feel we are not educated on off-year election candidates and decide to opt out of voting for that year instead of giving our vote to someone we don’t know. I can personally attest to this. If I am not familiar with candidates, I normally will not vote. As a legal U.S citizen, I have only voted during an off-year election twice. In both cases I had prior knowledge regarding the people running and felt comfortable in voting for them. I have also voted for those just in my political party I am registered for. For both reasons I need to investigate more about the people running for office. Just because an individual is the same political party as me, does not mean they would be fit for office.

  27. From a young age i have always been taught to vote an that my vote does count. I was able to vote when i was 17 in the midterm elections because in the state of Kentucky if you are within a few months of turning 18 before an election you are able to vote.Voting has its own importance to each individual and for me voting is for one a way of utilizing my first amendment right and my nineteenth amendment right and being able to have some kind of say of in who i want to be in office and who i think would make the best decisions for my town, my state, etc. In my opinion i think that everyone should vote because these are the people who basically run how we live because most business and jobs tie back into the government. So get out and VOTE!!

  28. I think that voting in local elections is even more important than voting in national elections. Sure, national elections can more popular and have more media coverage, but the local elections are the ones that’ll affect you more. It is glaringly obvious how much your vote matters after this past election in Kentucky, with only a 0.5% lead by the winner, only a couple thousand votes.

  29. This article is very interesting and SO important. I voted last Tuesday because it is my right and responsibility as an American citizen to stand up for what I believe in. I wanted to make sure my voice was heard because my vote does matter. I’ve found that many people do not vote in their local elections and also during off-year elections because they feel as though it is not as important, but those are the elections that are directly impacting their city and county! Sometimes people don’t vote at all because they don’t know enough about the candidates and what they stand for. I believe that more needs to be done to educate people on the importance of voting and how to become educated on political issues. When I am a teacher, I plan to have mock elections in my classroom every November with two different candidates who are fighting for issues that are relatable to the students. For example; longer recess, no homework, later start times, etc. Then, the students will cast their vote on a ballot and there will be a winner. I think that this will be a great way to illustrate to students how important it is for them to voice their opinions because each and every vote does count!

  30. Before I turned 18, I always thought my vote really wouldn’t matter, especially since I didn’t know much or understood politics. However, this recent election really opened up my eyes. Being in college with elections, is big difference than high school. So many people I know were promoting who we should vote for, whereas in high school no one really cared. I think it’s so important to vote and realize that it does count. A majority of the votes come from the youth and our generation. Also, this election was heavily focused on Education and being a future educator, it was important to give my say for my career. Any of the elections are very important to give your say in our how our state and country should be represented.

  31. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of not voting in past off-year elections, because I wasn’t educated on why it’s important to! But this past election was different. I realized how important it was for my voice to be heard, especially as a future educator. From now on, I’m going to fulfill my duty as a citizen and vote in every election, even if it is an off-year one. All of those women didn’t fight for their voices to be heard, just so I wouldn’t vote.

  32. Voting is something that a lot of people take for granted and do not use exercise their right to vote. Even if it is not a presidential election, your vote still matters and is just as important. There are a lot of issue that come up that citizens need to vote for, for example issues that have to do with funding schools or voting for the local politicians that can help to better the community. Especially since in this course our end goal is to be teachers, we need to get out there and vote to help our future students. It is our right to vote, so don’t waste it!

  33. I think that it is incredibly important that people go out and exercise their right to vote. Every vote matters whether it is for a presidential, state, or local election. With the recent Kentucky election I think that this stands true more now than ever. Beshear won the election by ~5,000 votes, it was an extremely close election and it shows that every vote matters, no matter how small it may seem.

  34. I think that this article did a great job at explaining why it is important to vote in all elections, even if it is an off year election. The article explained what other things, besides president, that we can vote for. It also explains what can be effected if people do not get out and vote, such us school funding and property taxes being changed. The items on the ballots on the local election are all things that will really impact a person so they are things they should research about and vote.
    It has been five years since I was first old enough to vote in the election. This is my first time, primary or general, that I have not voted on election day. I am from Indiana and every other year I have had someone or something that I wanted to vote for, and it just wasn’t the case for this election. I cared more about Kentucky’s election than I did my own. My point is, I have always felt like my vote matters because it does. I think the results of the Kentucky governor race shows that. Andy Beshear defeated Matt Bevin by only 5,000 votes. The difference between the two in many counties was extremely small. If 5,000 people thought their vote didn’t matter, the outcome of the election could’ve been completely different.

  35. This article is extremely important and should be read by more people. So many individuals don’t understand how important it is to vote and be a part of elections such as these. People need to be educated on the smaller elections and what they are voting for. The other issue is ill-informed voters. I feel as if many people vote without knowing the foundations of each candidate and what they’re actually voting for. As a young individual, I must take the initiative to learn as much as I can and inform myself on policies. And as a woman, I must vote due to the fact that it is my right and people stood up and fought for this right for the better of the country.

  36. As a citizen of the United States, voting is one of the most important rights we have. Many people died and fought for this right for all citizens, regardless of gender, color, or nationality. We should exercise this right properly and as often as we feel necessary, and I’m glad that this article exists because I believe too many people neglect the “off-year” elections when they are just as important as the others. I remember a story recently where a township in Ohio was dissolved because their elected leaders were skimming money off the top and raised taxes without telling the citizens among other things. If more people in the community had attended city council meetings or taken a more active role in local politics, this outcome may not have been reached. Researching these politicians to see where they stand on issues and if there is any pertinent information you need to know before voting for them is a good practice. Also, you don’t have to vote on every issue on the ballot too! Vote for the ones you know about and have researched.In summary, exercise your right to vote but make sure you do it responsibly and research beforehand.

  37. I myself am guilty of thinking my vote will not count, or overlooking the importance of one vote. Previous women and important figures have fought for my right to have a say and a vote and I am thankful for the fight to give me the rights and freedom I have. I also think it is important to have more of a discussion in classrooms about the importance of voting and elections. Before I was able to vote I really had no idea about the importance or role that elections and voting had. I also did not know enough about the different parties and roles that I feel my vote maybe would not be going in the direction in which I really wanted it to. Since turning 18 I have learned more and feel more secure in what I can do to help my state or country. Recently I have also learned how important it is to vote in the off year. Just because the president is not being voted for does not mean the election or poll is not important. In my classroom I want to inform my students that all participation is important regardless of how big or small of difference they think their input or response will make.

  38. I love the idea that are presented in this article. It is something that should be brought up in discussions with students because it is so important to vote in all elections. I have seen first hand that most people think that if they do not know all of the candidates or information about the election there is not point or the famous one “my vote doesn’t count”. All votes count in an election. This year Kentucky has had one of the closest elections we have seen in years and it all counted on a handful of votes that ultimately determined who won.

  39. In the past I have definitely been guilty of thinking that my vote didn’t count. However, this year above anything else has really shown me just how much my vote really does count. The first way that I was shown this was when I was watching the results for the governor race. The decision was so close. There was less than a half of a percent difference between the person who won and the person who lost. That is only about 4000 votes different. That is less than a third of the population of my college. I was also shown this by the vote that took place in Newtonsville, Ohio. While I was no a part of this vote, it still made a huge impact on me. This year they voted on whether or not their town would continue to exist. With a grand total of 7 people voting, their town was disbanded. 7 people made the decision for an entire town because just no one voted. It really just goes to shown how important your vote can be.

  40. Voting is a right that many have fought hard for to get to where we are today. Especially as a woman, I feel it be of upmost importance for me to exercise my right to vote because I have the ability to do so. No matter what type of election it may be, your vote counts because you are getting out there and making a difference. My biggest pet-peeve regarding elections is when people complain about the outcome, yet they DIDN’T VOTE. I am proud to say that I am an active voter, and I believe that my vote counts to help make a difference.

  41. This article serves as a great reminder of the importance of off-year elections. Local elections have such a big impact on the daily lives of citizens since these elections can affect school funding, educational curriculum, law enforcement, public health and many more aspects. Voting in these elections is so imperative given that the local races are often determined by just a few votes. As citizens, it is crucial that we educate ourselves on the candidates and exercise our right to vote to ensure a successful democracy.

  42. I clicked on this article because the off-year elections are something I honestly don’t know too much about, and I wanted to learn more. I was not able to vote during the last presidential election and often times when I think of voting I only think of the presidential election. I think this article just helped me realize that I need to do some research and learn more about my local candidates. I think as an educator these elections are especially important because some of them have a direct impact on our schools and our communities. This article helped me learn more about the off-year elections and I will look into some of the other articles about elections and voting as well.

  43. Voting on off-year elections is just as important as major election years. Off-year elections are overlooked a lot, but people dont realize that local elections can have a big affect on them as well. For many years, my family has personally been in politics due to my dad being the mayor of my hometown. Just seeing all the hard that goes into running a city is so important for citizens to see and realize. I have always thought it was important to to vote in off-year elections because we have the right to vote, not only that, but local elections can have a direct impact on a lot of important things in our communities such as our schools (which is super important to us as future educators). I really enjoyed this article and think voting is so important in all elections.

  44. When we think of voting, we typically think of presidential elections. When voting in an off-year election, our votes can still play a large role in the outcome. Especially when it is a local election. I always thought that it was only important to vote in the presidential election, but it is even more important to vote in local elections. Voting is part of being an active citizen and a way for our voices to be heard.

  45. Every vote does count! I also hope that people who do participate in voting do their research before going to the polls. As future educators, it is important that we relay this message because a lot of local elections will affect our school’s funding and resources. High school teachers should well-educate the importance of voting to their students, because they are the future of our country. If everyone thought that their vote didn’t matter, the results would not show the truth. We need to be educated on the importance of voting and what/who we are voting for.

  46. I have just recently, since the Trump administration has come to office, began participating in off-year elections. I see how electing local offices can affect my daily life, and possibly influence the outcome of future, larger elections, in a sort of “butterfly-effect” kind of way. Not only can exercising your right to vote during off-year elections influence significant change around your community, it is good practice to get into the habit of researching candidates and identifying with whom you want to vote for. I plan to continue to always vote every year, not just primary and presidential elections.

  47. Voting in off year elections can be just as important as voting in the presidential elections and it is important for students to understand that. I often hear people say that they don’t vote in the off year elections because they don’t feel the issues are important enough but students need to understand that any issue that ends up on a ballot is important and should be taken seriously. While voting is something that social studies classes typically glaze over, they may spend the few days around election day talking about it but that’s it, it is important that students understand process and why it’s important. Maybe letting them know that their votes in off year elections hold more importance because its a smaller group of people voting, it would keep them invested and make them want to research the candidates and the topics they support. By engaging them and letting them know that their vote truly does matter, we can create a next generation of engaged and educated voters who want what’s best for the country.

  48. Sometimes i catch myself saying that my vote doesn’t count. There are many people voting so why does 1 vote count? All votes matter and count towards whatever candidate you stand behind. It is important to first, do your research on what party you support and the candidates that you want to be elected. Secondly, it is important to get out and vote. I feel it is important because your candidate needs your votes and your vote could certainly benefit your candidate in a great way.

  49. I think that this article dose a good job on pointing out the importance of voting in local elections as well as national elections. All American Citizens have the responsibility to vote in elections to ensure that the best possible candidate enters office, and that a small majority of the population dose not control the government. Furthermore, local elections affect the everyday lives of citizens more than national elections. Though national elections are often more dramatic and publicized, local elections are just as if not more important than national ones, and as a result, every citizen should vote in them.

  50. I thought you brought up a good point when you explained that too many people sit on the sidelines when the midterm elections come around. If I were to guess, many people probably don’t vote because they don’t know much about the candidates. I think it would be important to do a lot of research on a candidate, including visiting their personal website, before making a decision.

  51. I can remember hearing some of my friends once we reached voting age get so excited to vote, but were only thinking about the big national elections like presidency elections. For me, my grandmother was heavily involved in local politics so I knew how direct the effects of decisions made on that level are, so I knew it was important for me to vote in off-year elections. However, I think more students need opportunities to get involved in their community so that they can see how important local politics are, and help them realize how their voice being heard in smaller, local elections may have a bigger impact on them than a national election would. I also think about the recent gubernatorial election that placed Andy Beshear in office. The voter turnout was higher than normal (42%), but that number could still use improvement.

  52. I found myself voting in my first off-year election this year and had no idea what to expect or what my vote did. I thought this was just some boring old election and that it had no impact because it was not a presidential election. After reading your article, I found out how much of an impact these elections have. I will make sure to take this more seriously next time.

  53. This is a very important article because people do not realize how important their votes are. Just because it is not a presidential vote, does not mean that your vote will not matter. Voting matters because it could determine a lot of things that effect you and your community. Like the article points out, voting could determine educational curriculum. As a parent, you want to have a say in what your child is taught. If you do not express your thoughts in the voting poll, then you should not complain about what your child is being taught in school because you didn’t vote against it. This can happen in a lot of aspects of voting and not just educational curriculum.

  54. I am excited that this will be my first presidential election I’m able to vote. I’ve voted in all of the off-year elections since I’ve been old enough. I think the more local decisions are more important, since they have a more direct impact on what happens to me and my community. It stresses me out that so many Americans don’t go out and vote except for on presidential election years. I know there are often barriers for people in making it to their polling stations, but when mail-in ballots are also available, I wish more people would plan around election days and prioritize participating in local elections as highly as presidential elections. Thinking about it makes me wish the United States had some sort of compulsory voting laws, like those in Australia. I think it’s really strange that, as a democracy, not all of our citizens have voting rights (felons) and those that do have voting rights so often fail to use them. I don’t feel comfortable that the whole population’s opinions aren’t represented.

  55. This article was interesting to read because I have always been a big advocate of voting. Many young people do not vote because they believe their vote doesn’t matter. This article is a good example of why everyone should vote and how your vote does matter. The outcome of smaller elections and local elections are important to everyone that lives in that community which is why it is so important for everyone to vote in off-year elections. I like how Dr. Childs states that a voter needs to educate themselves before voting. I agree that people need to do their own research and make up their own mind on what the issues are. Everyone gets a vote and your vote is your voice; use it.

  56. I like that you said every American should educate themselves about the political candidates and make wise decisions when voting because their choice would influence many lives. That’s precisely what I’ve been trying to tell my relatives about this election. They don’t care much about the local positions, so I’ll try to educate them at our next family gathering. Thank you!

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