Last week professor Robert Williams wrote an editorial stressing the importance of students casting their ballots in this upcoming November election. I had Art History 6B with professor Williams, and it was one of the most fascinating classes I have taken at UCSB. While I have sincere respect for professor Williams’ talent and passion for teaching, I have to disagree with his editorial.

Many people see voting as a civic duty and feel that it does not matter who you decide to vote for, as long as you participate in our nation’s democracy. This upcoming election is indeed significant to the future of our generation and may have an impact on California’s public education, but I got the impression that professor Williams is suggesting that voting alone will provide the solution to the education crisis in our state.

[media-credit id=20177 align=”alignleft” width=”182″][/media-credit]It is how you vote, not how many people you can convince to vote, that will determine the future of our state and nation. Both sides of the issues have the same intentions: Everyone wants prosperity for the state and the country, but the parties are suggesting two completely different means through which to achieve that prosperity.

The reason I am dissecting the voting process in this way is to show that voting is more than just marking your ballot. Voting is a process that requires the voter to identify their values, read into both sides of the issues and make a decision that best supports those values. This process may require time, research and serious critical thinking, which can be time consuming and frustrating.

Consider Prop 23: If approved, it will repeal the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) until the state unemployment rate is at 5.5 percent or lower. Those who vote no on this proposition most likely believe that global warming and the destruction of the environment are some of the biggest problems that California is facing, and to vote yes on this proposition threatens the environment and damages the future of a “green economy.” The other side sees California’s unemployment rate (12.8 percent) as the biggest problem in our state.

Those who vote yes on Prop 23 probably believe that the continuation of AB 32 will burden all businesses, both large and small, with too many state regulations that make wealth and job creation impossible. This proposition allows the voter a clear choice in priorities: Is our ultimate concern to preserve the environment or to get Californians back to work?

Voters should apply this thought process when considering all the propositions and candidates for office. If you have made the critical decisions about which candidates and propositions best match your values, than I hope to see you at the ballots on Nov. 2. But there is nothing good about voting just to vote. If you feel that taking such careful consideration is a waste of your time, I ask that you please consider it your civic duty to stay home. Making decisions without taking into serious consideration both sides of the major issues our state is facing is really unfair to those who do care about the election and have carefully developed their own system of values.