Students elect to ignore voting

Despite being the most politically opinionated and outspoken group in the United States, not all college students or young people participate in the most effective and easiest political statement of all: voting. However, students will gladly fight and protest to advance any lofty political goal they show the slightest interest in. I have seen large groups of students spending hours volunteering, making T-shirts and hawking their political views in order to somehow affect the world around them. Ironically, more than 50 percent of all eligible voters ages 18-29 do not vote at all, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Because college students lead such busy lives, they often overlook all but the presidential elections. Recently, Massachusetts held an election for a senator to replace the late Ted Kennedy – this was perhaps the most important Senate election in history. If the Democrats had won, they would have secured the ability to stop a Republican filibuster of the health care bill. On the other hand, the Republicans can now stop the health care bill in its tracks. Republican representative Connie Mack of Florida said that the Republican victory ‘proves that the American people reject a government takeover of health care and oppose higher taxes, more spending and bigger government.’ All this tells me is that the American youth were too lazy to pull a lever or punch a ballot. Sadly, only 15 percent of youth voters ages 18-29 participated in the election, according to If this election shows anything, it is that each election, no matter how seemingly insignificant, may have extreme consequences. I have not met a single student at UVM who voted in their home election in Massachusetts, and the results may serve as a huge road block on the way to universal health care. It is no excuse if you go to school out of state because you may sign up for an absentee ballot. Ultimately, all of the protesting and political commentary in the world will not make much difference if no one votes to make change. So the next time a college student tries to display their superior knowledge and interest in politics, ask them if they voted in their state elections.