Voting is important for college students

To vote or not to vote? Professor Donnelly offers his advice.

by Lia Hillman, Features Editor

The November election is nearly a month away, and many college students are considering voting for the first time.

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However, some students do not believe that voting is important in college.

According to the Campus Vote Project, over 20 percent of voters fit into the college-age range of 18-24 year olds.

However, only about 17 percent of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2014 elections.

“Among industrialized nations, Americans vote at a much lower rate than any other country,” said Paul Donnelly, Oklahoma Baptist University Assistant Professor of Sociology.

“The college-age group is merely kind of reflecting the rest of the country.”

One reason college students are apathetic about voting is that they feel their vote does not matter.

Especially with this upcoming presidential election, many students may struggle with liking or supporting either candidate, so they feel no reason to vote.

“Even if you don’t feel like you can vote for either of those persons, there’s a lot of other things that we’re voting on that day as well that we should be informed about,” Donnelly said.

These other things include United States and state representatives, judicial retentions and state questions.

“These things affect people’s lives on a daily basis, and in many ways more than any national figure ever will,” Donnelly said. “I think it’s dangerous to say that because you can’t support either of the presidential candidates, that you’re just not going to vote.”

There are some collegesstudents who are well-informed about political issues.

People aged 18-24 may also feel that the issues on the ballot will not directly affect them.

“While students may sense that there is no direct immediate impact, many of the decisions that are made are going to be paid for well into the future,” Donnelly said.

Many times, college students don’t feel the issues impact them.

They also don’t take the time or feel they have the time to research.

“Sometimes it’s also hard to find the time to study up on the candidates in the midst of other studies,” an OBU student said.

Donnelly said there are easy ways students can remain informed of political candidates and issues.

“There are plenty of people on campus – instructors, other students – who are active, who can present points of view,” Donnelly said.

The internet also has many resources for young voters.

“There is no reason that you cannot go out and find neutral sites that can present you with the different policies,” Donnelly said.

Neutral websites include the League of Women Voters and PolitiFact.

“Not being knowledgeable hopefully is a temporary thing that can easily be corrected,” Donnelly said.

Oklahoma’s deadline for voter registration, either in person or by mail, is Oct. 14. General Elections are Nov. 8.

“To be a citizen of Democracy requires certain things,” Donnelly said.

“One of those things is to get out and vote, and let your voice be heard.”

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