With election day approaching on Tuesday, Nov. 8, students at Ohio University are eagerly registering to vote and preparing to cast their ballots. In modern elections, college students have been voting at record rates. In the 2020 election, 66% of registered college voters cast their ballots.
The students at OU are no exception to the growing statistics of college voters. As recent political polarization separates voters in unprecedented ways, students said it is more important now than ever to get to the voting booth.
When it comes to the importance of voting, its weight is held differently for everyone. Ryann Davis, a sophomore studying political science, is eagerly waiting to vote this Tuesday and encourages others to do the same.
“Voting is really important, especially in this midterm election,” Davis said. “Considering there are a lot of different things in the ballot and we’ve been very polarized in this country more so than we have seen in the past. So, it’s very important to vote for what you believe in and what you think will protect you and the people you love.”
Another student at OU, Cassandra Herrmann, a freshman studying nursing, registered for an absentee ballot to make sure that she is able to vote in this upcoming election. This process allows voters to cast their ballot for their home county through the mail, in the event that in-person voting is not possible. While voting as a college student from campus is a harder process, Herrmann shows that it is no excuse to remain silent in politics, especially as a woman.
“All these women are kind of getting their rights taken away, so it’s important to stand up for what you believe in and vote to get it back,” Herrmann said. “Every vote matters because if you don’t, then you could have been the deciding vote.”
Another agreement among some OU students is the importance of being an informed voter, and casting educated ballots. Winifred Stiefel, a freshman studying wildlife conservation, is choosing not to vote in the 2022 midterm election for this specific reason.
“In this upcoming election, I did not do my research, so I’m not voting,” said Steifel. “I think that if you are uneducated in politics and you fully stay away from politics and you do not vote, that is okay.”
While people place different significance on the importance of voting, different circumstances may prevent students from doing so. Steifel said voting is a privilege that is too often taken for granted, when in reality it can go as far to be considered as a civic duty and should be completed when people have the knowledge to do so.
“In general, societally, if you don’t contribute through voting, because that is your civic duty, you aren’t allowed to have a say,” Davis said.
In the midst of a busy semester, it can be easy to overlook voting because of exams, homework, essays and clubs/organizations, but Davis said it is extremely important to still make time to vote.
“I think that it’s important to vote,” Herrmann said. “I understand people that don't decide to vote or don't vote on everything. But I do think that it's very, very important because it's the life that you're living in. If you don't vote then you basically don't have a say in the life that you are trying to lead.”