The Great Debate: Are Young People Rocking the Vote?

It's that time of year! We walk through the halls and see posters of all of our friends running for Homecoming King and Queen urging us to vote. What we are forgetting though, is that the REAL election that matters is right around the corner! November is sneaking up on us, and while students may be divided between parties and opinons, one thing is for certain... this election is bound to be an interesting one.

Many of us students find ourselves in an interesting position: it is either the first election in which we are allowed to vote or, like me, it is the first election where you feel as though you have an invested interest in who runs our country. Two weeks ago we had the first presidential debate, last week was the vice presidential debate, and just the other night was the third presidential debate. I watched both with a group of friends and noticed that the opinons were nearly split down the middle. Some people relate more to one side than the other, which is fine, but to me, it is a great thing that students want to be informed and look for ways in which they can educate themselves on which candidate they support.

I will leave my political leanings out of it, but I enjoyed watching the debates so far, and feel as though there are certain things about both candidates that I respect. To get a picture of what other people thought, I asked a few students around campus what they thought of the election.

A junior from Denver, Colorado,  Juliana Todeschi was one person I had the pleasure of sitting down with during the second presidential debate. I talked to her a bit about what she thought about young people and the upcoming election.

"I think it's definitely important to be informed," she said. "Not enough people in our age group are informed enough about politics in general."

I agree with Juliana, and even if you tend to value one party over another, I also believe that sticking to what you believe in and keeping an open mind is important. Juliana also told me, "Young people should vote because the decisions we make now will affect what kind of jobs we can get." College-age young adults will be experiencing the economic effects firsthand as they try to pave their way into the world, and I also agree that staying engaged in politics is in our best interests. I asked Juliana some ways she thought young people could stay informed. She thought that by "watching the news, seeking debate coverage online, and following the actions and statements of political figures, young people can get a good idea of what the different sides stand for." This is her first election where she is able to vote and she is very excited! One great thing about college-age people is that many of them are able to vote for the first time, and we hold the future in our hands! Juliana is "excited to make a difference for our country and do my duty to vote for the next president."

Personally, when watching the debates, I get frustrated because I feel as though some of the talking points are not productive. Having one candidate address an issue and then having another candidate say that the previous candidate said a bunch of nonsense is confusing and maddening. It makes it so important to seek out the answers and do research ourselves. Senior bio-psychology major Katie Yoest agrees.

"Through watching the debates I get a better sense of each candidate's personality and character," she said. "But I feel as though people our age are not educated enough about politics and will accept what is spoon-fed. People need to seek out primary sources and read the literature for themselves, rather than accept what biased news sources offer them as fact."

I was impressed by Katie's statement and found myself fully agreeing. We can believe anything we read online, but only by educating ourselves and knowing what means most to us, can we decide which candidate is best for us.

So, how do we go about doing our duty? There is another debate coming up (the library shows the debates every week as do most news stations), and voting time is around the corner. Look up ways to apply for absentee ballots for whichever state you are in, and send in your votes! Voting is important, but we need to remember to educate ourselves and vote for candidates who we believe will uphold the principles that we hold dear. For those of you who missed the last three debates, tune in tonight (October 22 at 9 p.m.) and research the issues for yourselves! Below I will leave you with some reasons to vote from the Washington Secretary of State:

REASONS TO VOTE!

So you can decide. Why let other people decide what is best for you when you have a voice: the vote.

It's your right. Young people, women and underrepresented groups all fought hard for the right to vote. Even today there are countries where people are still fighting for the right to vote. Vote in honor of those who can't.

Representation. Does it seem as if politicians don't "get" you? Want politicians in office who represent your needs and concerns? Then vote.

To bust the stereotype! Some adults think, "Young people are lazy, they don't care about their communities, they don't vote." Prove them wrong.

If you don't vote, someone else will. Our government was designed for citizen participation, so if you don't vote, other people are going to make the decisions for you.

Every vote counts. The 2004 Governor's election proved how close things can get. Every vote counts.

It's your money. The county commissioners, governor, state treasurer, legislators, President and members of Congress you vote for will decide how to spend your money. Vote for those who agree with your point of view.

You won't always be young. Will social security be there when you need it?

Save the world. The air, the land, the water—we need them all.

It's your backyard. Crime prevention, laws and law enforcement, safe and affordable homes, traffic patterns, schools, parks and recreation...all deserve your voice!

 

Through some research, soul searching and education, you may be surprised which side of the fence you fall on certain issues! Let's do our part and remember that the future is in our hands. Anyone who wants to take the step check out Rock the Vote.

Thanks Wagner! Until next time,

Doug D

Author: Doug Donato

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