Student Life

Dislike of candidates, voting system deters some students from casting their votes

While the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday for the November 2012 general election, not everyone is planning on casting a ballot.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics, approximately 610,000 Michigan residents aged 18 to 24, about 65 percent of those in the age group, were registered to vote for the November 2008 election.

Of those, 455,000, or 48.6 percent of the state’s 18 to 24 population, actually voted in the 2008 election.

With analysis from sources such as the Center for the American Electorate predicting a lower turnout for young voters in 2012, the question is raised: Why do young voters have such low turnout compared to the rest of the electorate?

Students who have consciously decided not to vote in this election cycle give reasons such as a dislike of all the major candidates for president as well as having little interest in political matters.

“I’ve just never voted before, and I’m not huge into politics, so I don’t really follow anything,” said freshman Jessica Walls. “Plus I feel that none of (the candidates) are completely truthful, and I wouldn’t know who to vote for.”

Some reluctance to vote stems from feeling like a single vote cannot make a difference in our country’s electoral college system.

“I don’t support Obama, and I don’t support Romney,” said Dearborn Heights junior Miguel Olivera. “I don’t have the time, nor do I have the interest, to look into independent parties. I don’t believe one vote matters, so why should I bother?”

Capac sophomore Shannon Draper has found someone she’d prefer to run for president over the two mainline party candidates.

“I feel that Obama hasn’t done much to help our country in the past four years and I don’t see that Romney would do any better,” Draper said.  “In my opinion, Michelle Obama should run to be president, because I feel she wants to take a bigger part in our country and has been doing a lot as the First Lady.”

Will students like these pick up interest in voting in future elections?  For Macomb senior Sarah Childers, that depends on if any future candidates running can be more personally relatable.

“To me, the whole election thing is just about who has the most money and about who can make the best promises,” Childers said. “I would vote in the future for a candidate that I feel isn’t some rich, spoiled person who actually cares about voters.”

Students can find information about how to register at michigan.gov/vote.

One Comment

  1. Presidential elections don’t have to be this way.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the
    candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in
    presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue
    state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states
    where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in
    80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the
    conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a
    majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a
    President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states
    would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most
    popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The presidential election system that
    we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding
    Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change
    precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48
    states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in
    the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state
    by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award
    their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the
    major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending
    the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote
    and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by
    state legislative action.

    A survey of Michigan voters
    showed 73% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support, by age, was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 67% among 30-45 year
    olds, 74% among 46-65 year olds, and 75% for those older than 65.
    By party, 73% among independents, 78% among Democrats, and 68% among Republicans.
    By gender, support was 86% among women and 59% among men.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only
    about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all
    of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives
    the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about
    10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among
    Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every
    demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in
    closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI –
    73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA –
    78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes):
    AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH –
    69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT –
    75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,,
    KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA –
    74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT –
    74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans
    believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The
    bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes -
    49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

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