Voter apathy not as big this election

Younger voters hold more power; tapping into that potential, high turnout expected

By Julie Hirshan |

David Matulewicz, sophomore and a vice president of the Political Guild, doesn’t believe the popular myth about apathy in the college-age voting demographic.

With many students attending recent political events like Rock the Vote on the West Lawn and the vice presidential debate in the Ringhaver Student Center, students at Flagler College show that they care about the political issues and plan to use their voices in the upcoming election.

According to Matulewicz, many students from Flagler are active in political campaigns around town.

The Democratic headquarters in St. Johns County has more for students to help with, but the Republication group enlists the help of Flagler students as well.

Matulewicz also added that after a month-long voter registration drive on campus by Campaign for Change, around 25 more students registered at Rock the Vote.

Most students involved in campaigns off campus are either members of the political guild or studying political science.

Matulewicz, majoring in political science and economics with a minor in pre-law, thinks the reason young people don’t vote has more to do with being away at school than with apathy.

“Voting is confusing and takes a lot of effort,” Matulewicz said.

Absentee ballots are hard to obtain. He says if there were a polling place right down the street we would see a lot more participation by students in the process. Students are interested and engaged, but don’t know how they can make their voices heard.

Chris Roll, a senior sport management major, sent in his application to vote with an absentee ballot in this election. Roll says voting is important.

“If you don’t vote, you have no voice. And your opinion means nothing because you didn’t do everything you could to make it count,” he said.

Students are concerned with the same issues as the rest of the general population. The economy is the issue that is most pressing right now, with students either concerned with their ability to get a job after graduation, or their student loans and ability to pay for their education.

“Giving money to corporations now affects me in the future, and my kids, more so than it affects people right now,” Roll said.

Roll also said issues on international relations and America’s image in foreign policy will be important factors in November.

Matulewicz says the Supreme Court is a more pressing concern for the upcoming election.

The next president will have the potential to appoint up to three justices, most likely two liberal and one conservative.

As the president-elect will nominate people whose political views align with his own, the court has the potential to lean too far in one direction.

“An unbalanced court is frightening and dangerous,” Matulewicz says, referring to a court top-heavy with either conservative or liberal justices.

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