Representative government is the bedrock of democratic societies. If all of us – millions of people — were charged with making policy decisions for our government, it would be something more akin to mobocracy.

A more practical solution for getting things done for the common good is for us to vote for individuals who represent us in the halls of government. As individual voters, we can only hope that whoever is elected by the majority represents a good many, if not most of our values and priorities.

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The author of this editorial clearly has a very low opinion of the majority of Americans (“mobocracy”), democracy in general, and Appalachian State student participation in particular. The level of condescension is incredible.

“Most students don’t own property in Watauga County nor are they likely to even register their automobile ownership locally, so they may not be acutely aware of local issues.”

So only the land-vested are aware of local issues and should be able to vote? The author may be interested to know that 40% of Watauga County residents are not homeowners—about 5 points lower than the national average. Around 2% don’t own a single vehicle. Should we discount the votes and interests of 40% of the county’s population? I, for one, would prefer our voting laws not be reverted to back to the early 1820’s.

Apparently that wasn’t enough. The author just can’t help but hammer it home a second time; even more conspicuously: “And, getting back to the large student block of voters, because they have little in the way of vested interest in and quite possibly even little knowledge of local government issues but have a lot of voting “clout,” are the best and most informed candidates in each district getting elected?”

This is exactly the “quality voters” argument state Rep. John Kavanagh (R) of Arizona infamously used to justify voter suppression in 2020. “Everybody shouldn’t be voting,” he said, elaborating that low propensity voters are “uninformed on the issues” and therefore should not be encouraged to exercise their rights. Does the Watauga Democrat really want to align itself with advocates of voter suppression; using coded language couched in the Jim Crow era?

How about lauding young people for their interest in civic participation instead of judging their knowledge and choices?

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