Students have impact on election

Braden Linick

As a neck and neck presidential election nears its end, students are reminded the importance and impact their votes may have in local and national campaigns.

Many students, and young people alike, do not seize the opportunity to vote when it is available, said NMU political science professor Aura Syed.

This could be caused by a number of reasons. According to Syed, some feel their personal vote has no impact on the election whatsoever, whereas others may be lazy or just uneducated on the voting process and where/how to register to vote.

“Nowadays, [young] people can make more informed decisions on these issues,” Syed said. “They should vote because they are citizens and it is their civic duty to vote.”

There’s no question that youth votes can play a major role in presidential elections, as President Barack Obama gained a vast amount of support from young voters in his 2008 victory against John McCain, Syed said.

Syed went on to explain the U.S. voting system.

“The U.S. election system is based on indirect representation,” Syed said. “When people have to choose from amongst themselves, a group that makes decisions on behalf of the people, it makes it an indirect way to express their will.”

Individual votes make up the Electoral College, a group of individuals designed to represent votes of citizens.
Each state has a number of electoral votes that eventually determine the presidential election every four years, Syed said.

The number of electoral votes a state has is based on the number of Congress members within that state.

Syed discussed some of the flaws with the Electoral College. He noted that dangerously, the Electoral College has the potential to elect a candidate with fewer votes than their opponent.

“This happened in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore elections,” Syed said. “Gore got more popular votes, but Bush was elected because of the dynamics of the Electoral College. They count the number of representatives rather than votes across the country.”

According to Syed, the Electoral College was initially created to essentially weaken votes frm the uneducated.

When it was originally established, information on relevant issues was not as readily available to citizens as it is today.

The Electoral College would ensure protection of candidates and a more fair election.

Marquette County Clerk Peter Dishnow said young voters are important; they are a section of the voting public with their own special needs and interests.

These needs and interests could be overlooked if they chose not to vote.

“Every vote does count,” Dishnow said. “I’ve been through a number of recounts where five votes or less made the difference.”

According to Syed, people should not be voting because of an assumed self-importance of their personal vote. It is a civic responsibility for younger citizens to vote.

University students are more informed on major issues such as social events and economic problems. Their contribution to the decision of choosing various representatives adds a greater value to the election, Syed said.

“Lesser and lesser people are going out to vote,” Syed said. “This tells us there are big problems in the system, in the relation between people and their government.”

Junior political science major Nancy Saucedo said she will vote in the upcoming presidential election and noted that it’s a common fact that a decent portion of younger people don’t vote.

Something important to realize with this is that these younger citizens could be voting for issues relevant to improving their own lives, such as lower tuition rates, Saucedo said.

“Things could be changed for the better for my peers, but many don’t care enough to go out and do something about it,” Saucedo said. “The system should be changed to make voting an easier process for newcomers.

“This would help reinforce the fact that the votes represent what the majority of people want.”