Students Indifferent Towards Political Issues

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By Miki Patel

Turning 18 is a big deal, especially this year when most seniors will finally be able to vote, but how many students actually take advantage of their right to vote? The truth is not many students care enough about politics to be able to vote. We live in a society where young people are quite ignorant when it comes to political issues.

It is true that politics is very boring to youth, but most do not understand that their vote can make a difference. The reason behind why young people tend to vote less is because they believe that their one vote will not matter much or they think it is a waste of time to go to the voter booth to place their vote.

Clairece Schultes, a senior at Loy Norrix, plans to vote during the upcoming presidential election.

“I just got my voter license and since this is the first time I will actually be able to vote, I am definitely going to take advantage of it,” said Schultes.

According to Priorities USA Action, if Mitt Romney is elected president, there will be a huge reduction in the federal Pell Grant tuition program. If students were aware of this, they would most definitely be interested in voting since the Pell Grant helps reduce the expenses associated with college.

Even though the elderly tend to vote more than youth, the voter turnout for youth has increased in recent elections. Voter turnout for ages 18 to 24 reached 49 percent in 2008 compared to 47 percent in 2004 according to the cencus data report. According to the Do Something website, the voter turnout for youth has more than doubled in the 2008 primaries and caucuses compared to the year 2000 because they are only now starting to realize the importance of voting and how they are affected by it.

Studies show that young voters with college experience are more likely to vote than someone without any college experience, but about half of all young Americans have never even attended college. Education is a reason why the majority of young voters do not vote. According to Do Something, about 79 percent of young voters that vote on Election Day (the first Tuesday of November) have attended college.

Art Williams, a government teacher at Loy Norrix, explains why youth tend to vote less in elections.

“I think the problem is that the government looks too messed up right not and kids just don’t think that the government functions too properly,” said Williams. “Kids need to recognize that a lot of the issues actually do affect them everyday.”

Williams also questions whether or not the voting age should be raised back up to 21.

“Some people say that the voting age needs to be raised back to 21 because 18, 19, and 20 year olds don’t care and they don’t know enough to be educated voters, and sometimes I wonder if that’s true,” said Williams.

The key to getting more young people to vote is by educating them on why voting matters and how it makes a difference. We need to make them understand which point of view they share whether it’s that of a Democrat or that of a Republican. Only then will young people truly be interested in voting.