It’s that time of year again - Student Government elections! UIS has become a crazy campus of campaigning - at least until voting day. This year, I have various friends running for SGA and the pressure is on. Do I vote for my friends or for the candidate I feel would be best? I know I am not the only one in this position, it happens every year to students. It is difficult to decide who to vote for, especially when you are pressured to vote for your friends, roommates, teammates or co-workers. It is easy to commit your vote to these people, because you want to avoid an awkward conflict. How can you tell your friend you won’t vote for them because you feel more confident in their opponent? This can ruin friendships and cause uncomfortable interactions. Many people don’t understand how important it is to choose the best candidate. You need to think about how their views and decisions will affect your experience at UIS. It makes me wonder how many students read up on those who are running. Before voting, you should know the facts and try to make an educated choice. Profiles of the candidates can be found online, but probably the best way to get answers is to speak with them. Some students may think it is better to not vote at all. That way they can honestly say they did not take a side during the election. Others may shy away from voting because they aren’t into politics. This may seem like a sensible idea, but it’s not. As American citizens we have the right to vote anonymously. This is a right not everyone has, and as young adults we should embrace it. Since national politics are complicated and scary to some students, they avoid voting for the president, senators and governors. Voting for SGA positions is almost like a practice election to help students get prepared to vote in the real world. UIS is a smaller school, so your vote really does count. Chances are you will know many of the students running. If you are feeling pressured and nervous about voting, remember that no one will know who you voted for unless you tell people! When someone asks, just say you prefer not to talk about it. There is no need for an explanation. Plus it’s the best way to keep the situation conflict-free and still support your school. This year I am doing my research and looking into each person. Though I have friends in the election, I know that should not affect my ballot. I want to make a responsible decision that I won’t regret. However, I also know I won’t be making enemies since I will be keeping my opinions to myself. I encourage you to take this opportunity to make your mark in SGA. Even if you never plan on running for a spot or being involved in politics, this is a chance to pick the people who make decisions on this campus. The current candidates are as follows Makilah Alexander, Darlene A. Jackson, Riley Quinlan, Christopher Campe, Marissa Farris, Aerie Nquyen, Elizabeth Janeteas, Prabhu Kottapu, Marc Reiter, Joe McGee, Michael Lotspeich, Hannah Cave, Peyton Bernot, Alaxander Skarr and Mike Chmielewski. To see what positions they are running for and their bios you can visit www.uisjournal.com.