Editorial: Why the little votes matter

Voting is a right that all Americans are viable to act upon, but many don’t. Here’s why that’s a mistake.
Editorial: Why the little votes matter

In Orange County alone, there are 1,819,806 people registered to vote. The city of Fullerton represents 77,920 of those voters. While Orange County houses many registered voters, 287,093 of them are not voting. That is about 16% of the OC’s voting population.

According to the Pew Research Center, over half of the U.S. population thinks that politicians are running for office strictly to secure the staggering amount of wealth that comes with the job. Also, voting amongst younger people is in a decline due to much of the youth feeling there are not any candidates that represent their values.

Even so, voting is still an important right that much of America doesn’t fully realize the weight of. While you are choosing who you think is the right candidate for the jobs that are nationally known, you are also voting for jobs that are lesser known to the public.

While well-known offices such as president and senators affect the entire nation, the lesser discussed local positions can affect you and your city more directly.

Take, for example, the judicial branch. Many women have borne the effects of the history-making decision of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022. This shined an even brighter than usual light on the Supreme Court, and at the same time that same bright light was not shone on the lower courts that helped move the case along to the final decision-maker.

In the California courts system, there are three court levels: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the trial courts, also known as the Superior Courts. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, combined, file 25,587 cases annually, meaning that those are the cases they are reviewing and deciding on in court annually. The Superior Courts annually file 4,519,099 cases.

According to the data and information given by the California Courts website, the Superior Courts are the ones that hear and rule on criminal cases, but also familial, mental health, juvenile, and traffic cases. In a nutshell, they hear the cases that are more likely to affect citizens on a more direct and personal level than the other courts.

While judges run as nonpartisan candidates, political and economic influence could still have some sway on these judges according to retired judge and author LaDoris Hazzard Cordell.

There is also the matter of education in which we also elect officials to oversee and make decisions on the curriculum that we, and our children, learn.

Much like the courts, the California education system has three levels: state, county, and local.

According to the Merced County Office of Education, the state level, as we know as the California Board of Education, oversees regulation and law-making such as that of the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act.

The county level is the one where the County Office of Education (COE) leads assist school districts in providing the state-approved curriculum to students. According to the California School Boards Association, they also provide a number of services directly to students in need of them such as county-run juvenile court schools.

The local level is your traditional school district that takes care of the everyday education of students.

All three can greatly affect you and that of your children’s education and support in school.

The State Assembly is arguably more well-known than the educational board and the Superior Court,  yet even they can be overlooked at times.

The State Assembly is one of the two parts of the California State Legislature. The state legislature also consists of the California State Senate which is considered the upper house of the two.

Much like the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the two houses work with the governor of California to make and implement laws. The key difference is that the laws that are implemented only affect the citizens residing in that state, leaving, yet again, a more direct effect on you.

They serve two-year terms in which they can be up for reelection at the end of if they haven’t hit the cap of the three-term serving limit.

Something that you will also find on your ballot are propositions. Propositions are laws that voters decide on whether the state should implement that can change the California state constitution. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, 148 propositions have been considered by voters and over half of them have been implemented in California.

Each one of the offices mentioned is currently up for reelection this year, meaning that any person who is over 18 and residing in Fullerton can either negatively or positively affect the lives of the 141,874 people living in this city.

So do the right thing for your fellow person and vote as you could help to create a positive effect on the lives around you.

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