Youth absent at polls

By Lauren Reilly
November 20, 2003

Voting is not a high priority for young adults. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau said that in the 2000 presidential election, only 42 percent of American citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 reported voting.

History professor Dr. Jolyon Girard believes that the political knowledge of Cabrini’s student body is “no better or worse than students everywhere else.” He said that many of the issues discussed by politicians seem irrelevant to young adults and usually deters them from voting.

One way that students are able to become involved is through the history and political science club. The majority of the members are from either major, but the club is open to all students. They are responsible for hosting the annual fall history forum where experts and scholars are invited to speak about various topics. Earlier this semester, the club also hosted a voter registration campaign.

History and political science major Ray Croce is a member of the club and feels that students should be more involved with politics. “There are a select few who will stand up for what they believe in and voice their opinions,” Croce said. Croce thinks that a student’s lack of knowledge may inhibit their desires to take part in the election process. “If people don’t know what’s going on, how can they make informed decisions?” Croce said.

History professor Dr. Jeremy Rich said that although many students may not have an understanding for politics in its’ entirety, students appear to be more concerned with specific issue. “They may not know about much, but they’ll express their opinion on what they do know,” Rich said.

Since 1972, the youth voter turnout has declined by 13 percent. Currently, of the 110.8 million eligible voters, only 9.9 million of them are between the ages of 18 and 25.

The history department chair Dr. James Hedtke believes that history/political science majors are more politically active than most students on campus.

Hedtke said that many of the history/political science courses require students to participate in internships and events that encourage their political involvement.

Problems with youth voting may only be resolved when those who chose not to vote begin to develop interests and concerns with issues in society.

“There’s a very important step from knowing about something to caring about something,” Girard said.

Posted to the web by Angelina Wagner

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Lauren Reilly

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