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.