Posted in Posts about People, Weekly Assignments

Student Voter Turnout

Many eligible students on the University of Hartford campus are not registered, with many not planning to in time for this year’s election. there are also many among those who are registered who plan on not voting on November 8th.

The University of Hartford holds registration drives on campus, where students can fill out forms to get registered as voters in Connecticut. Later, the school will have shuttles carrying people to their designated polling stations in town.

Most 18- to 24-year-olds are dragging their feet to get registered this year, for two main reasons that I observed: either think they don’t have the time to get it done by November 8th, or they don’t like either candidate enough to do it at all and will do it before the next election four years from now.

Excuse me, but both of these reasons are bullshit. If you have the right to exercise your free will by casting a ballot and you have the means to do it, then you should actually do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like either one of the leading candidates because someone is getting elected, with or without your voice.

hawks_vote
Uhart Student Jean Corbett wears the Hawk’s Vote t-shirt… a gift students receive upon registering at the voting drives

I’ve been asking people around campus a series of questions for the past several days in regards to the election. They go like this:

Are you registered? Do you plan on voting? Why not? Don’t you know how easy it is? Yeah, you just stick it in the mail, do you need a stamp? Oh, you’re already registered, so are you voting why not? Didn’t you hear? –The school has a shuttle service running all day to take students to the polls! Don’t you know that there are more than just two candidates running?

The list goes on. I swear, I’m like you’re least favorite relatives that pester you with questions when you come home from college, all rolled into one little student voter-activist package.

I have been encouraging my friends to get registered and to vote in two weeks’ time, but some people just don’t see the point. Voters in the 18- to 24-year old bracket make up 21% of the voting population. That’s just over a fifth, people! Yet, only 17% of those young citizens actually cast a vote.

In the 2008 election, only 44% of college age voters participated in the voting process. In 2012, that number dropped to 38%. According
to a post done by ABC, of all the registered voters, only 41% of registered voters in the youngest bracket said they were “absolutely certain” to vote. In 2014, only 42% of 18- to 24-year olds were registered.i_just_dont_care_enough_final_jpeg

A few of my friends say that there isn’t a point in voting if not a single candidate is worth their vote, and I can see the discouraging side of their argument. I was talking with my friend Alex the other morning about whether he was registered or not, and he said no. I asked him if it was because he wasn’t old enough to vote in the last election, and he said yes. That was where I fell, too.

Until a few weeks ago.

The University of Hartford has been hosting voter registration drives for students on campus who are not registered yet (10/25 is the last day they are hosting the drive, but you can register online here!) The school will even have a shuttle system bussing students to their designated polling places around town.

I spoke with Toshia Anderson, the Associate Director for the Center for Community Service, the group in charge of organizing the drives, about what is so great about the drives. “It offers students a chance to learn how to have their voice be heard,” Anderson said. “When we live in a time where people feel muted, and they finally get a chance to make a difference, we want to help them get there.”

Another UHart student, Madeline McGrail, spoke with me about changing where you are registered, and she told me that she isn’t voting at all despite being registered in Connecticut. “Why not, do you have class that day?” “No,” she replied simply.

“Well then, why don’t you just drive over when you get the chance?” I inquired. She looked at the steering wheel and said to me, “Because I just don’t f****** care. I just don’t care enough to vote for anyone in this election.” Hearing that nearly broke my heart. There are so many people in this country—and this world—who cannot vote. So I strongly encourage everyone out there who CAN vote to exercise that right… even if it means putting down Batman as a wright-in candidate.

Just this evening I helped my roommate search online how to request an absentee ballot and where to send it. I will help however I can. I’m like the voting superhero…I should get a cape, too…

I don’t know who our next president will be, but their first law should be to turn Voting Day—Nov 8th—into a holiday! Everyone gets off work and school so that they get a chance to vote instead of standing in line for an hour during their lunch break only turn around and leave because things took to long. Voting is just too important to stand around and not do anything.

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Author:

Hello everyone! My name is Maddie and I am a senior the University of Hartford.

One thought on “Student Voter Turnout

  1. Great article Madison. It is disheartening to read some plan to abstain from voting. You are correct, whether they like the candidates or not, to exercise their right. Remind the women that voting for women was ratified a mere 96 years ago.

    Like

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