Making polls a student priority

by Jess Hoogendoorn

Screaming from television and radio broadcasts and printed in magazines and newspapers are the political policies and promises of the two presidential candidates. However, one of the big questions is not who has the best policies, but who will turn out to cast their vote.

The teenage and 20-something voters carry a reputation for not casting a ballot in any elections. College students especially have an easy excuse for not making it to the polls. They are either not registered or are too far away from home to make it to their designated polling station. However, there are resources available for college students who live away from home. Absentee applications can be sent through the mail, allowing students a chance to send an absentee ballot to their home voting office.

“The bottom line is that when you don’t participate, other people make decisions for you,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “On top of that, voting is the great equalizer in America; everyone’s ballot counts the same. So if you want the satisfaction of being part of something great and noble and inspiring and important to the things you deal with every single day, then it is both rational and smart to learn about the issues and then make a decision on election day.”

Due to the economic slump and the many changes proposed to the health care system as well as other policies, students have a great stake in this election. Dr. Harvey Kornberg, a political science professor, believes students should pay particular attention to the candidates’ positions on federal support of education. This includes grants, loans, income tax deductions for tuition and other educational expenses.

“We have reached a fork in which a fundamental decision must be made as to how we proceed and what kind of life we wish to live as a society,” said Dr. Jonathan Mendilow, a political science professor. “It is clear that whatever decision we take, it is mainly the young generation that will be impacted and whose career and prospects will be impacted.”

Mendilow explains that his career is already made, he owns a home, his children are already grown up and his life will not change much from this point on. He compares his current life to those of students. He explains that students need to keep in mind that their lives are just beginning and they will be the ones buying houses, having children and getting jobs in the next few years.

“I never understood how a student could say, ‘politics doesn’t affect me, so I don’t bother with it,’” Dworkin said. “Young people have a huge stake in this election, aside from everyone’s obligations to be a good citizen. For young people, some of the biggest issues are about jobs and the economy. If you are not worried about finding a job when you graduate, then you should be worried about finding a bank to loan you money for your first car or the money you need for tuition. If you care about gas prices and the environment, civil liberties — including the laws surrounding abortion rights — and America’s role as a world leader, then you should be following this election.”

Juniors Karl Craft and Allie Eick said they are voting with absentee ballots, which are sent to individuals who are out of state or away from their election district during the voting period. The elderly, disabled and military personnel can also apply for absentee ballots.

“I’m getting an absentee ballot because last time I went home to vote my car broke down,” Craft said.

“I’m getting an absentee ballot. I live an hour away and I don’t want to drive home,” Eick said.

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