By Ashley Carroll–

As many of us already know, voting is incredibly important. This is true whether it’s an off-year mayoral election, open primary or when the Oval Office is up for grabs.

This past fall, pollsters got it wrong when Matt Bevin became the new governor of the Commonwealth. Bevin initially shocked the state by becoming the Republican nominee, but caused an ever bigger uproar when he beat sure-choice Jack Conway, Kentucky’s then-attorney general. Before election day, SurveyUSA’s polls predicted Conway had a considerable lead on Bevin, and that the attorney general would walk away victorious.

To all of those college-age students who are nearing adulthood and still say they don’t follow politics: the time has come to stop being uneducated and apathetic. Because polls ranked Conway ahead of Bevin throughout the entire campaign, so many Democrats figured that he was going to win, and they simply stayed home. As a result, voter turnout was unexpectedly low.

“We’re privileged enough to live in a country of democracy. A lot of people believe that their singular vote doesn’t play a significant role in the election, but if you look at rising candidate Bernie Sanders, you can see that, though initially an underdog, the collective voices of millions of people have made him a front runner,” junior Natalie Ridge said.

Ridge is referring the recent Iowa caucus held on Feb. 1. A caucus is where citizens of a state meet up in precincts across the state, but they don’t cast a ballot vote, they discuss who they believe would be the best choice as each political party’s presidential candidate. It’s a pretty big deal.  The early primaries are a turning point in the presidential election, when candidates begin dropping out of the race.

The people of Iowa and New Hampshire have spoken, just like Louisvillians didn’t speak last November. Voter turnout selects your presidential candidates and governors as easily as it can select the wrong ones.

“It’s becoming clear that individual support can change the outcome,” senior Taylor Sanders said.

Stop being apathetic. Get rid of your excuses, and get out to the polls next election day. As college students, we are at a point in our lives when we have to put on our grown-up pants and educate ourselves on politics. We are the next generation that’s going to be running this country, and you need to know the basics. So next election day, whether you voted for the goat running for small-town mayor or you participated in Kentucky’s own primary or caucus, I better see you wearing that sticker that says “I voted.”