Students cite bad reasons for voter apathy

It’s not too long until November”

With an election on the horizon, the experts are once again out in force trying to figure out how to get the college kids to vote, and figuring out why we have had such terrible voter turnout in the past.

There are many excuses we use for not voting. Most of the time we just fail to consider that voting is a means by which we can change our country in a positive way.

According to a story, there are a good number of (flimsy) reasons college students elect not to vote.

Personally, I would travel to hell and back to vote. It is my civic duty, and I get a kick out of it.

The story says most students would most likely pick all of the following as reasons why they do not vote.

They are just too busy, the registration process is too complicated, many have to vote absentee, candidates do not address issues of interest, political bickering is a turn-off, political campaigns are negative, Election Day is not a holiday, and “

No free stuff!

Besides, that’s not true. You get the “I voted today” sticker.

What about the feeling of pure euphoria gained from making an informed decision as to where you feel your country should be going? Not free enough, I guess!

These reasons are not solid enough for refusing to take part in a democratic process many do not have, but wish they did. So many people have overcome a great deal in order to have the right to vote, and would laugh at us for even considering such flimsy “roadblocks” legitimate.

They would say, “No free stuff? How about the risk of being blown up on the way to or from the polls?”

Here on campus, there will be at least one hundred voter registration drives before the election. Not to mention a registration form so simple my parakeet could fill it out. If you register absentee, they mail your application to you! What could be easier?

Oh, and a news flash: much of what you must learn in life in order to succeed will be things you have absolutely no interest in, but must learn in order to be a functioning member of society!

Preparing yourself to vote is good practice for life – you just might have to listen to a politician talk about some things you have no interest in, but that will probably affect you at least minutely, at some point in time.

Human beings crave negativity. We are naturally attracted to what keeps us on our feet. Having something to combat or think about, such as a negative ad or campaign, is more interesting and informative, than something we agree with.

You will probably remember the theme of an ad that bashes your favorite candidate, but you might not even remember the theme of a really nice values ad by your own candidate!

Don’t trust me? Read the studies that prove negative ads are more informative than positive ones.

How feasible is it to believe that if politicians had nice ads with butterflies, elevator music and families holding hands, that we would be riveted?

Say we make Election Day a holiday, so we can have a day off. All of those who answered to make it a holiday, etc” still have to participate in that difficult registration process, be interested in the candidates’ issues, and not be turned off by the negativity of their campaigns. It is not likely they will take advantage of a day off to vote.

The New Millennium Young Voters Project shows that in 2004, the youth vote experienced an 11 point surge from 2000, and even then, only 47 percent of 18 to 24 year olds voted!

Considering American Government is required at most schools, this Harris Interactive Survey is truly disgusting – only 55 percent of 1,002 adult Americans could identify the three branches of government; 22 percent of the respondents thought the correct answers were Republican, Democrat and independent!

It would be nice if this generation — my generation – would get their act together and take advantage of our right to vote. One of these days, we will do something to have the experts scratching their heads in a good way!

Send comments to Danielle Winters at [email protected].