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Young Voters Eye Approaching Election

Olivia Samerdyke, Editor-in-Chief

My parents have happily cancelled out each other’s votes for twenty years.

This arrangement meant that the kids never lacked for political exposure and discussion growing up.  I began counting down the years until the ability to vote from the time I was eleven. Helping to elect a President of the United States of America remains a top goal of mine.  After all, it only happens once every four years.  Overall, enthusiasm and energy levels rise on Election Day, if the White House is at stake, and this year in particular.

Yet voter apathy, particularly among the young voters remains a concern for the country. Generally, people on the younger end of the voter-scale do not vote.  Retired people make up an overwhelming majority of the numbers punched in at the polls on Election Day.

At MBC, however, most students able to vote, have already voted absentee or plan to go to the polls. The Voting Van in Sky 1 will transport student voters from 9:25 a.m.- 4:45p.m. to the polling place, Memorial Baptist Church on Taylor Street.

Enthusiasm and interest are even up among the PEG students, many of whom are too young to vote.  “Most people plan to when they’re old enough,” Ari Kropf, class of 2016 said of the students too young to vote.

Other students vote more out of a sense of responsibility than a genuine interest in the political.  “I don’t like politics,” Randi Beil, ‘14 told Campus Comments, “But it’s my civic duty.”

Of the students not voting, usually a simple dislike of politics does not keep them away from polling places.  They often cite the worry that their vote will not count due to the Electoral College process.  Winning the popular vote does not guarantee a candidate the Oval Office.

This system of counting the votes by Congressional representation has been criticized for being too complicated and difficult to understand.  Particularly harsh criticism came after the very controversial 2000 election, although the Supreme Court settled that.  But because some students do not understand the Electoral College, they prefer not to work with a system they feel they do not sufficiently comprehend.

“I have to find out how it works,” Holly Cline, junior, explained.  “That’s just the way I am.”

The worry of voting blind keeps other potential voters from marking the ballot.  Given the choice of voting uninformed, or not voting at all, they prefer the latter.

“I don’t feel informed enough to have a responsible opinion,” said Celine Brooks, a freshman.

Having a responsible, informed opinion was always something that my parents stressed having when my counting the years until I could vote began.  As usual, we saw plenty of politically-charged conversation, while I was at home and at school.  But something more interesting, at least to me, than any debate about “the 47%” and which candidate has a bigger pension lingers in my mind.

In 2012, year 21, my parents are actually voting the same way—but I won’t reveal their choice.  Although the readers must remain blind about that, I hope they do see the importance of voting and I’ll see them wearing the coveted (by me) “I Voted Today” sticker.


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