“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Over the last few weeks, Radford University has been gifted with the presence of voter registration personnel. Their main objective is to get many, if not all, of the Radford student body registered in time for the 2016 presidential election. While many of us find this to be slightly annoying—especially when they stop you and you’re already late to your 3:30 bio lab—it’s a necessary evil.
In 2014, only 19.9% of 18-29-year-olds cast their ballots; this was the lowest youth turn-out rate ever recorded in a federal election.
Many students claim that they’re too busy, that their vote doesn’t matter, and that they just didn’t feel the need to register to vote; however, it’s this demographic that has the potential to change the course of an entire election. According to 2014 numbers, there are 31.5 million 18-24-year-olds in America, with 40% of those individuals being college students. This is a tenth of the overall population. Imagine the difference that could occur if every college student did their civic duty and voted in not only federal elections, but local ones as well.
College is a time where we make changes, and how we define ourselves differs from the child that we’ve grown out of. One of the milestones that we reach at the raw age of 18 is the ability to vote. College students consistently seek ways to better the environment, their local communities, and their lifestyles, and the most progressive way to do this is to vote.
So the next time you see an overly excited (or overly tired) voter registration attendant and you haven’t registered, just go ahead and do it. As stated by Sharon Salzberg, “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.”