Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why college students should vote

By Katrina Kervin

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(Carolina Hidalgo/Tampa Bay Times/MCT)

(Carolina Hidalgo/Tampa Bay Times/MCT)

The reasons people give to justify their decision not to vote never cease to expand. Whether claiming they don’t trust our government, that their single vote doesn’t really matter or significantly affect anything or that they just aren’t a fan of either candidate, fewer Americans than ever are voting. According to the United States Election Project, voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest it’s been since World War II, hovering just over 36 percent. While voter turnout increases during presidential elections, a large percent of eligible voters still fail to cast their ballots.

Despite whatever excuse a person may have not to vote, it’s still imperative to do so. Of course, there’s the argument that voting is our basic right as citizens of a democratic country. Huge sacrifices have been made throughout our nation’s history to afford us the right to vote, and to relinquish that right dishonors those efforts.

Beyond that valid argument, as college students, we have even more of a duty to go out and vote.  If we want to see change in the future, we need to involve ourselves in the decisions that are being made today. The issues currently facing the U.S. are as important as ever, ranging from LGBT and reproductive rights to defending our country against foreign and internal threats. It’s important for our generation to be a part of the conversation, or one day we may inherit a country whose policies don’t reflect us.

The millennial generation is not only the largest generation but the most diverse in the U.S. population. With growing diversity, we need to elect leaders who represent the needs of their constituency. Millennials have historically had the lowest voter turnout of any generation, and by choosing not to vote we are inexcusably silencing ourselves. With our numbers, we have the ability to swing important elections. To help create real progress, we need to allow our distinct voices to be heard, and what better way to do so than to vote and seriously affect who gets elected to office? By doing so, we can start to change the way our government looks for the better.

Being in college, we’re hovering at a time in our lives where we’re not kids anymore, but we’re not really adults either. Because we’re not exactly out in the “real world” just yet, we seem to forget that the policies we are able to vote for today and the candidates who support them will affect us greatly in the future. Soon we’ll be looking for jobs, renting and buying homes and making many more serious decisions that are all affected by policy. Even if we may not feel like they will, the decisions we make today will greatly affect us tomorrow. We shouldn’t be leaving those choices in others individuals’ hands.

Katrina Kervin is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Why college students should vote”

  1. Anonymous on February 18th, 2016 9:33 pm

    It’s not imperative to vote. You have a right to vote or not vote, just like you have a right to speak or remain silent, or to be stupid or not be stupid. Yes, people have died for the freedoms we have in this country. So respect it. It’s a right, but it’s also a responsibility. DON’T let people convince you to vote on issues or candidates where you haven’t fully informed yourself and formed your own opinion. Reading other people’s opinions on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else is NOT informing yourself or forming your own opinions. Learning why both sides believe as they do, looking at what the candidates consistently stand for, and about the causes they have supported and voted for, is. College is all about learning to think for yourself, so please truly inform yourself before voting!

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