By: Carrie Ratkevich, Staff Reporter
Casting a ballot is a right many people do not exercise, said Union President and full-time instructor Andrew Tibble.
The 2000 presidential race came down to a handful of votes in Florida, so it is irrational to think one vote does not matter, said Tibble.
“We live in a democracy and things work better when people participate,” said Tibble.
Voting can affect the laws that are made and can allow people to show support for a cause, he said.
“I am not a political person, but the union has pulled me that direction,” said Tibble.
As an immigrant, Australian-born Tibble spent many years unable to vote and since receiving citizenship he has voted whenever he was able, he said.
“For people who move here, it’s a big thing to be able to cast a ballot,” he said.
Because of a lower turnout of young voters, many politicians cater to older people. Young people have a real reason to believe they are ignored, but until they start voting that will not change, he said.
“Younger people are essentially allowing older people to shape and control their world,” said Tibble.
It becomes a loop, younger voters do not vote and then candidates ignore them. Young voters feel ignored and do not vote, he said.
“If a group is not voting, politicians are not going to look at that group,” said Tibble.
Voters should also try to be informed on the issues. It can be difficult in this age, with so much information available, to be well informed, but people should know the issues that will affect them, he said.
“It would be great if everybody was well informed on the issues,” said Tibble.
The primaries are coming
On June 5, New Mexico will have its closed primary election, which means voters must be registered as democrat or republican to vote in the primary.
For the republican presidential primary there are three candidates: Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Californian activist Fred Karger.
For Democrats, the presidential primary candidates are current U.S. President Barack Obama of Illinois, Tennessee attorney John Wolfe Jr., Texas inmate Keith Russell Judd, West Virginian activist Randall Terry, Florida blogger Darcy Richardson and perennial candidate Jim Rogers of Oklahoma.
Presidential candidates not included in the primary include former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson (L), Hawaiian comedienne Roseanne Barr (G), California activist Kent Mesplay (G), and Massachusetts physician Jill Stein (G).
This year, New Mexico will also vote to fill a US Senate seat because Democrat Jeff Bingaman is retiring.. There are five candidates; state auditor Hector Balderas (D), congressman Martin Heinrich (D), army veteran and business owner Greg Sowards (R), former congresswoman and former state cabinet member Heather Wilson (R) and Vietnam veteran and business owner Jon Barrie (I).
The US Representative seat for the Albuquerque area is up for re-election. There are four candidates. Martin Heinrich (D) is the current seat-holder and is running for the senate seat. Former mayor of Albuquerque Marty Chavez (D), Senator Eric Griego (D), Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and Businesswoman Janice Arnold-Jones (R).
For more information on the individual candidates, go to uselections.com.
Important voter information
Students can register to vote for the general elections in November beginning June 11. The last day to register for the general election is October 9. Polls for the June 5 primary will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Registration can be completed by filling out a short form and returning it to the County Clerk. To register as a voter a person must be a US and New Mexico resident and over 18 by election day. Register to vote at the County Clerk’s Office, Department of Motor Vehicles and public libraries or by requesting an application from the clerk’s office.
For more information about voting or voter registration, call 505-468-1291 or go to bernco.gov.