Students have mixed emotions over the impact of their vote

By Christina Peluso

With the presidential election quickly nearing, politics is a hot topic on campus.

Many campaigns, both nationally and locally, are promoting student voting. From MTV’s “Choose or Lose” campaign to Comedy Central’s “Declare Yourself” drive, various groups are focusing on voters ages 18 to 24.

Typically, 18-to 24-year-olds have the lowest voter turnout. After the close race in 2000, many people think young voters will have a big impact on this year’s election. In 2000, only 42 percent of 18-to 24-year-olds voted, compared to 70 percent of voters 25 and older, according to the Web site www.civicyouth.org.

While many groups are enthused about youth voting, students on campus have mixed responses.

Freshman in LAS Diana Zychowski said she’s not voting this November because she feels there is too much partisan voting and doesn’t feel educated enough on the issues.

“I’m voicing my opinion by not voting,” Zychowski said.

Sophomore in LAS Luke Pro said he will vote this fall, but he doesn’t like his choices. Pro said he’s trying to be responsible by voting but hasn’t made a decision because he dislikes both candidates.

Senior in LAS Brian Calhoon said he will vote this fall because he’s concerned about issues such as education, amending the Constitution and the war in Iraq.

“These people make our decisions so I want to have some say in it,” Calhoon said.

While the average student has mixed opinions about the upcoming election, Registered Student Organizations on campus all agree on its importance.

The College Democrats will have a table on the Quad where students can register to vote every school day until the Oct. 5 registration deadline. It will be in front of the Union from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Senior in LAS and College Democrats president Erin Janulis said students should vote because it’s the easiest way to influence what happens around you.

Chuck Prochaska, sophomore in LAS and Illinois chairman of Students for Bush, said youth voter turnout is disappointing.

“People our age should be more involved – there’s a lot in politics that impacts us,” Prochaska said. He added that young people don’t vote because they fail to realize how they are directly impacted, especially with issues like the economy and education funding.

While Prochaska does want students to vote for Bush, he said that they should look at both candidates’ records and make a choice that makes sense for them.

Sophomore in LAS and president of the League of Women Voters Kimberly Verest said she’s seen a lot of interest from students this past year. At Quad Day, many students came to her club’s table with questions about registering. Verest said youth voting is very important because she believes that young voters could swing this election. The League of Women Voters plans to help students register and give out information on both candidates.

Verest added that people should vote because otherwise, they don’t have a right to complain about the policies of the president.

“Many young people don’t vote because they don’t think they can make a difference,” Verest said. “The last presidential election proved that wrong.”