Opinion | Rights are at stake these midterm elections

Mallory Hatchett, Contributing Columnist

The midterm elections are on Nov. 8, and they are a bigger deal than students realize. 

Many house representatives and senators are up for election. Per statistics, students lack participation in elections. 

“Young adults (ages 18-29) made up about 21% of the voting-eligible population in 2014, but voter turnout for this demographic has reached record lows in recent years, sitting at 17% in recent years,” states Campus Vote Project, a nonprofit with the aim to increase voter participation amongst college-aged students. This should be a concerning statistic for us as students. Most of the laws being passed will impact us either directly or indirectly.

In 2022, the mostly conservative Supreme Court ruled on many things pertaining to religious freedoms, state rights, climate change and other crucial rulings. Things such as abortion, religion, gun control and many other strong rulings will impact our everyday lives. These rulings in and of themselves are controversial but they play an important role in this upcoming election. 

In Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion regarding the Dobbs v. Jackson’s case, he said “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell.” 

Justice Thomas wants to reconsider all of these cases regarding the right to contraception, the right to private sexual acts and the right to same-sex marriage. He conveniently left out the right to interracial marriage, as Clarence Thomas is married to a white woman, Ginni Thomas

With this in mind, the Supreme Court has essentially given all rights back to the state regarding abortion, and has the potential to do that with same-sex marriage and the right to contraceptives. Whether you agree or disagree with the state’s rights, this is the main reason we, as students, need to get out and vote. 

A total of 470 seats are up for re-election within Congress: 35 seats in the Senate and 435 seats in the house. 

The 470 seats that are up for election are the people that will give us the rights to bodily autonomy, privacy, contraception and other basic human rights. Things such as critical race theory, book bans and other important topics will be in the hands of the people we elect this Nov. 8. 

While it may not feel as though we have much of an impact on elections, we undeniably do. We have a major impact on our local and state rights. We can’t rely on the Supreme Court to protect us any longer. We must vote. 

Students can visit resources like vote.org and campusvotingproject.org which will provide information on how to vote on Nov. 8.