To Vote or Not To Vote?

Thomas Barszcz

With all the stresses of college life on a daily basis, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the world outside of campus. Being a student demands more than just doing your homework, studying and going to class.

It requires you to be an active citizen.

Being an active citizen can mean many things, but with an upcoming presidential election, it means considering to cast a vote.

According to www.sos.ga.gov, there were approximately 7,800 18 to 24-year-olds registered in Bulloch County to vote in the 2012 presidential election. However, only 51 percent of those registered voters actually turned out for Election Day.

Thinking about voting can yield the age-old question of whether or not one’s vote even matters. The Georgia Southern Honors Program director, Steven Engel,Ph.D., had this to say about that famous question.

“If they [younger people] are not interested in voting, why should the politicians have to cater to them in the same way [as other age groups]?”, Engel said.

What to consider

Considering to vote in an election means being informed, and being a registered voter.

You may or may not have noticed the commotion around the Russell Union’s rotunda for the past couple weeks.

That commotion is the dedication of students from different organizations informing students on the views and goals of the different presidential candidates and also encouraging students to register to be a voter in Bulloch County.

One such organization is GS NAACP representatives. Junior economics major Joshua Farara is the President of the GS NAACP. Farara has personally been talking to students at the Rotunda the past couple of weeks about being a registered voter in Bulloch County.

“The majority of the students here have not had the opportunity to vote yet and they said that because of the two candidates that they are [uncertain] and discouraged to vote,” Farara said. “The only way we can bring change is if we start the change.”

Students saying they are choosing not to vote because they are discouraged by the two main candidates is a reality that exists.

Sophomore communications major Hannah Johnston is the president of the Young Americans for Liberty organization on campus. Johnston has been around the Rotunda this week to tell those discouraged students that all is not lost.

“I mobilize and educate the students on Georgia Southern campus to give them a better understanding of their options politically and their rights as citizens of the United States,” Johnston said.

What Johnston means by “educate” is that she informs students that the two main candidates we see in the media are not the only two people currently running for president. The YAL aims to educate students about the Libertarian party and its representative.

Going to the Rotunda is not the only place to learn about the election and the presidential candidates.

If you cannot make it to the Rotunda to talk to someone, the library is another opportunity to get informed. The library has computers with continuous powerpoint slides running with information about each candidate.

The Student Government Association has also been promoting knowledge about the election as well as encouraging students to register to vote.

“It is the responsibility of student leaders like us to ensure that we explore avenues of ensuring that students are aware of the importance [of voting] and I think that will have an impact on increasing the amount of student voters,” Dylan John, SGA president, said. “We [The SGA] have been having many conversations with student organizations and professors to ensure that we can get students registered so they know their vote counts.”

What do students think?

With the large population of students GS has, there is a vast array of perspectives about voting from different students of different majors and classes.

“I’m voting. It’s our responsibilities as Americans [to vote]. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” senior marketing major Kendall Rogers said.

On the other hand, some students are concern about the political landscape of America and do not plan to exercise their right to vote.

“I do not plan to vote at this time. Both candidates make me worried about the future of our country,” freshman mechanical engineering major Tanner Mehrkens said.

So vote or don’t vote. It is your choice to decide.

Illustration by JD McCarthy.