I choose to vote or not

Illustration by Madison Cohen

NAU’s campus has been infiltrated by strangers who are pushing and shoving for students to register to vote.

The feeling of not wanting to be approached by anyone rises as soon as students can see people wearing red, white and blue with their clipboards covered in American flag stickers.

Students understand how important their votes are. It’s unnecessary to harass passing students into registering on the way to class. In fact, it is this pressure that may be deterring students from casting their vote.

The numbers don’t lie. In 2018, the college student voting turnout dramatically increased. Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education study found that college students between the ages 18-21 voted 21.5% more in 2018 than the 12.6% voting rate in 2014. Students more than doubled the voting rate in the previous midterm election.

However, from the same source, it should be noted that based on its findings, in 2018, 74.2% of students attending a four-year public university were registered to vote, and only 53% of them actually went out and voted.

Obviously, there was an element that caused 21.2% of the registered students to not make it to the polls. From experience here on campus, it can be intimidating when a stranger approaches and attempts to find out if a student is registered and voting.

As previous generations continuously demonstrate, millennials and younger generations are criticized as is, but it is especially notable when civic duty is the topic at hand. Naturally, this induces fear in students who may have not registered yet.

However, it is foolish to assume that this generation doesn’t participate in any of its civic duties or exercise its rights. For example, Red for Ed took Arizona by storm. Both students and teachers participated in rallies and walkouts for the betterment of the education system. Students have also created and organized their own walkouts to protest gun violence.

Additionally, students reserve the right to not vote equally as much as they reserve the right to vote. It’s no one’s business to know whether or not a student is or is not registered. Also, a student’s decision whether or not to vote is not correlated with whether or not they fundamentally believe voting is important.

It is this pressured voting that causes ill-informed students to vote at random or for a candidate they don’t truly believe in. This results in unsatisfactory poll results for everyone involved because, arguably, a blind and uninformed vote is equal to not voting in the first place.

All in all, the pressure that is put on the upcoming generations is crushing as is, and shaming a person into registering and voting is just as cruel as intimidating someone to keep them from voting.