Thursday, January 26, 2023

University students discuss importance of political engagement amongst the student body

NewsCampus NewsUniversity students discuss importance of political engagement amongst the student body

BY NYA WYNN
Staff Reporter




In the 2020 presidential election, the number of college voters who cast their ballots increased by 14% compared to the 2016 presidential election. However, many wondered if this increased turnout would carry over to this year’s midterm elections. 

This year, the Democratic party was helped significantly by young voters. In multiple “battleground states,” Georgia, Michigan and Ohio, the number of young Democratic supporters exceeded 2018 totals in early voting. 

According to the U.S. Senate website, midterm elections are normally given less attention when they do not coincide with the presidential election. Nonetheless, they are still important because they have the power to influence national politics by changing the majority party in each of the two chambers of Congress. 

Make It Count, a registered student organization at the university, aims to increase voter registration and civic engagement, specifically targeting freshmen, through the use of TurboVote. 

“TurboVote is just a really easy tool to update your information, register to vote, and get information regarding elections and upcoming deadlines,” Natalie Baag, treasurer of Make It Count, said. “You can register if you’re not registered, you can check to see if you are registered, change your party, change your address. It is very useful for anyone, even if you are already registered to vote.” 

TurboVote is accessible to anyone in all 50 states and D.C. with the goal of providing lifelong voter support for any election. TurboVote has partnered with various organizations just like Make It Count across the nation, supporting over 14 million voters. 

“The younger generation is underrepresented in politics and we are the future of America so we should be voting on the policies that affect the future,” Baag said.

Across campus, students from all majors, ages and political beliefs geared up to vote in this year’s midterm election. Whether they mailed in their votes in advance or drove to their local polling place, students’ voices were heard this election season. 

“I do plan on voting in the upcoming election,” Ashley Thomas, freshman criminal justice major said. “​​I feel like we should all take advantage of the opportunity [to vote] even if our impact may seem small.”

Riya Moorthy, senior exercise science major, said, “I just mailed in my ballot for New York’s election. 

Moorthy believes it’s important to vote so that the voices of college-aged students are heard and accounted for in politics

“I think young voices are often ignored in politics,” Moorthy said. “There’s a lot of controversial stuff happening right now in politics and making sure younger voices are heard and our opinions are represented well is important.”

Even students who cannot vote are still advocating for civic engagement amongst their peers. 

“I think the students are the future and they are going to run the world so it’s good for them to be responsible and civically engaged from this age,” Pavritha Kalluri, sophomore biology major and international student, said. 

Students across campus are advocating for civic engagement, as well as voicing their own opinions through various other political registered student organizations, such as College Democrats, College Republicans and the Environmental Justice Project, Inc.

“The age group of politicians in our government is not reflective of the general population who is voting and we need younger people to vote for the policies that will affect us in the future,” Baag said. 

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