With November 6th quickly approaching and the presidential candidates beginning their debates, politics are on the minds and television screens of many Americans.
But for many college-aged youth, this is not the case.
We are traditionally a group with low voter turnout in elections and, often, this is due to the fallacy that our vote does not matter.
While it is true that one individual’s vote will not drastically change an election, Americans aged 18-24 make up 23 percent of the population.
This group is large enough to easily swing an election.
That is, if we show up to the polls. And if Student’s Association elections last spring were any indicator, we don’t.
Nearly all students are involved in an organization or social club that is allotted part of SA’s $90,000 annual budget and still, less than 15 percent of us voted last spring. Over the past four years, voter turnout in on-campus elections has steadily decreased and it is clear that students want nothing to do with politics; Five officers have run un-opposed (including three presidents) in that time.
On-campus, the power of a vote should be especially clear to students. Along with budgets, SA makes decisions that effect classes, activities and many other things that are part of our daily lives.
There is one thing students (and many Americans) do like to do in regards to politics: complain.
The percentage of Americans willing to publicly voice their discontent with current politics often seems to eclipse those who actually take the time to visit their polling place.
If you have an opinion regarding politics, better to put that towards a vote rather than a tweet or post two years into the term.
Accept that sometimes you may have to choose between the lesser of two evils. You may have to make sacrifices in regards to certain issues in favor of those you find more important. But either way, if you don’t check one of those boxes come November, you have no right to whine about who wins.
Historically, it hasn’t been pretty. But things are starting to look up.
In 2008, it was clear that the youth were beginning to mobilize. According to the census, we were the only age demographic to have a significant turnout increase when compared with 2004.
With election day just a month and a day away, you need to start preparing now. If you aren’t registered, www.VoteTexas.gov can help get you started. After that, it’s up to you to watch debates, research platforms and issues and move toward making an informed and educated choice.
As a whole, we have the power to decide this election and, hopefully, make our country a little better. If we just vote.