Don’t be blindsided by your ballot

The final voter registration date for Indiana passed Oct. 11.

Now each voter’s focus should shift to finding a convenient voting center and brushing up on the issues as they relate to each candidate.

There are far more candidates on the ballot than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Don’t be blindsided by your ballot.

Don’t walk into the booth and only recognize the names of the people running for the top government seats.

Think about the community you live in and the offices within it, whether you are voting where you live for school or absentee voting for your hometown, the issues do affect you.

For example, this election year, Vanderburgh County has multiple races including county commissioner, school board and coroner.

The government officials within your communities can have a more direct impact on your life than the men or women elected to serve at a national level.

As college students, think about the issues that could affect you in your four years and how some local offices could impact them.

Issues such as taxes, education reform and city development could all have an impact on you as you complete your college career and transition into the community as an independent adult.

Change starts from the ground level and works its way up.

In that sense each vote cast is one vote for a changemaker, someone who can truly make a difference at the grassroots level for the community they represent.

When looking at the candidates find their views. Don’t only listen to what you hear about them through campaign ads or newscasts. Most  candidates, even on a local level, have a website or a Facebook page. Look in those places for answers to the questions you might have on their policies.

If you walk into a voting center with no knowledge of the candidates, no matter their level, you only do yourself a disservice.

If you’re registered there should not be much that stops you from casting your vote on Nov. 8.

Being registered is the first step and exercising the right to vote with an informed opinion is second.

The excuse you don’t know enough about the candidates is simply not acceptable. That’s a problem with an easy solution. That solution is a little research.

Explore the candidates, explore the issues and explore what you are looking for in a leader.