ON-AIR: Despite push from student organizations, many students stay clear of polls

By Sara Rose

Of the almost 13,000 people registered to vote in precincts near the University of Illinois campus, only 20 percent showed up at the polls. Every voting cycle many student organizations try to increase this number by spending time educating students and encouraging them to vote. The groups talk to students about issues that affect their lives and explain how voting can make a difference. County Clerk candidate Michael Richards says student groups do their best, but there needs to be additional help from the community.

“You have college students, half of whom who haven’t voted before, who need information, aren’t going to know how to vote, aren’t going to know where to vote, and aren’t going to know anything about the candidates.”

Justin Cajindos is president of College Democrats. He says getting students to vote is tough because many students are skeptical about the political process.

Cajindos says the community should get more involved, but there is a reason student groups do most of the campaigning.

“Generally students are used to convince other students to any sort of vote or to vote for a certain party, and that’s because students are more likely to listen to other students than they are to other people in the community.”

Cajindos says organizations can only do so much. At the end of the day the decision to register or vote is up to the students.