Students explain reasons behind their votes in Champaign County

By Ashleigh Kendrick, Staff Writer

As Election Day approaches, some students are preparing to mail in their ballots or cast them in person, while others are not casting a ballot at all.

Miles Ralph, junior in LAS and president of Illini Republicans, says he plans to return to his home county to cast his vote. Ralph said he did consider changing his voting registry to Champaign county as he lives in Champaign nine months out of the year, but ultimately decided not to.

“It’s kind of difficult because I’m very politically active back at home,” Ralph said. “So, I feel like my vote would count more there.”

Will Charlton Haliday, junior in Media, said he also plans to return to his home county to vote, as he enjoys the act of voting in person.

“I just want to go in person because I kind of like the experience of going and doing it,” Charlton said.

Charlton said he sees voting as the best way for citizens’ voices to be heard. Ralph also echoed this sentiment. He said that regardless of which party someone is voting for, their vote still matters, and they should not feel discouraged to vote just because their vote does not align with the dominant party of the state.

“People feel like, ‘Oh (Illinois) is majority Democrat, so it doesn’t matter,’” Ralph said. “Every vote matters, of course, and it is very important for everybody to go out and vote.” 

Michal Szczepaniak, junior in Media, said he will most likely return home to cast his ballot because it is not too far away from campus. Szczepaniak also said many of his friends are also returning home to vote, but some of his friends are going to the polls to report rather than vote.

“Especially being in journalism, we obviously have to report on important things,” Szczepaniak said. “So, I know a lot of people who have been planning on either reporting or going themselves to vote.”

Ralph said he also knows many people who will be voting, whether it be in person or via the mail-in ballot.

Although Ralph, Charlton and Szczepaniak are voting, some students are not. Chiffon Claiborne, senior in Media, is one of those students. Claiborne said she is not registered to vote in Champaign County, so she would have to mail in her ballot or return home to cast her vote. She said she could not return home this election to vote due to other commitments.

“I was planning to go back home, but the class I’m taking (requires) me to be reporting that weekend,” Claiborne said. “So, I don’t think I’m going to be able to go back.”

Charlton said he thinks one reason people are not voting is due to a lack of knowledge on candidates and current issues.

“I think the most underlying reason is because people just don’t know enough or just don’t really have an opinion or just don’t like either of the candidates,” Charlton said.

Szczepaniak mentioned that he thinks people are not voting simply because they do not want to or because of a lack of interest.

“I don’t think there’s any concrete reason that they have to not vote other than simply their lack of interest, to be frank,” Szczepaniak said. 

Ralph believes that the importance and impact of voting needs to be emphasized, especially at the local level because the lower level elections are just as important.

“If you’re going to vote, say here in Champaign, just know that your vote means a lot to the people running for those local seats,” Ralph said. “So, just go out and vote.”

 

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