The number of voting college students has been in decline for the past decade. After some quick math from the US Census Bureau, I found that 58 percent of the 66 million total college students are either not registered voters, or just don’t take the time to vote. So why aren’t college students voting? And, more importantly, why should they?
Voting is something that all eligible Americans should do, no matter your place. Some families don’t teach their children the importance of voting at a young age, and so those children, now students, have no reason to get involved.
Most college students only recently became adults, and have not yet created their political identities. Even I had to ask my parents who to vote for and why. Voting is a new thing for rising adults, and it’s difficult to suddenly have to keep track of politicians, candidates and the most recent legislation.
However confusing politics is, voting is still the heart of our democratic process. This country was founded on the principle that its citizens can decide their government’s future, and it’s a right that shouldn’t be shrugged off by a lazy generation. What I’m trying to say is, college students should vote, and here’s why.
No one votes with college students in mind. Most people are more interested in health insurance rates than tuition and student loans. That’s why it is our job, as college students, to speak up for ourselves and stand for what we believe. It may be difficult to do, but think about your future. Casting your ballot now could change your life for the better in five years.
If you prefer to live in the moment, think about who you are. You’re very likely a college student, trying new things and broadening your horizons, getting experience in the real world. So wouldn’t it be hypocritical to say you’re finding your place in this nation, but aren’t contributing to the driving process of democracy?
Actually, your vote could change your future as soon as next year. Forbes reports that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is working to “make college tuition in public universities and public colleges free.” The Department of Education states that the Obama-Biden administration “has dramatically boosted Pell grant funding by more than $40 billion”, making Joe Biden another worthy candidate.
By voting, I don’t mean only federally. Voting on all levels counts, even for city ordinances and community propositions. Even voting for the president of your housing village can change your own well-being for the next year.
College students are an enormous constituency, and have much more political power than any of us could imagine. And even though 58 percent of college students don’t vote, that still leaves more than 27 million of us. Think about how much power we’d have if we got all 66 million together.
So, I encourage those of you who aren’t registered to register to vote. The Registrar of Voters is just up the road in Santa Rosa. Voting is the foundation of this country, and if the foundation falls, the structure falls.