Often, when it comes to voting, college students cannot make it to the polls or have not yet registered.
Aaron Ellis, political and interfaith programming intern for the Wolfington Center, set up a voter registration table in Founders hall from Oct. 11-24. There, students could learn about the importance of voting and participating in the upcoming general election.
The importance of voting
“The importance of voting matters enough, but there are other reasons why students on a college campus need access to a voter registration table. There are a lot of first-time voters on campus, and this is the audience we want to impact the most,” said Ellis. “Letting them know that they have this newfound power we call ‘voting’ and informing them about it is important. The people that they are choosing to vote for may have a huge impact on students because those same students will be the next generation of adults. Also, simply educating any student about their registration status, and about how they can get registered is just as important as registering them.”
Ellis took the time to help students, registering a total of seven, and signed up eight students for voting training. But he wasn’t worried about quantity.
“While the number may not seem like much, it is not the number I focus on, but the impact it made on how many people registered to vote,” said Ellis.
While the Wolfington Center hosted a voter registration table, the Cabrini students believe colleges and universities could do more to increase voter engagement. Many students are 18 to 29-years old with the majority first-time voters. This group may have only seen voting on television or social media during previous elections.
Voting is power
Amirah Bailey, junior accounting major, is one of many with an opinion on what could be done to increase student votership.
“I am personally not going to vote for this upcoming election and I think that it has to do with colleges and universities not promoting the upcoming election or registering to vote enough. There were a couple of emails that were sent out and a table to register to vote but I feel like there could have been more education for why voting is important, especially for my generation and different times for students who are in class or who have to work, Bailey said.
“Students should try to meet voter registration deadlines and vote during the next election because voting is power, and if you have something that you care about, you will go out and vote. Voting is how change occurs, and change is important when it comes to unjust laws and regulations. But if you vote and choose a candidate that aligns with your morals and values, you can see change occur in a positive and impactful manner,” Ellis said.
There are many different challenges voters and non-registered citizens alike face when they want to vote. Moving forward, colleges and universities must do all they can to continue to educate and help students understand how important it is to be engaged in civic life.