Many students have abandoned voting because of the current economic crisis, according to an article in The New York Times by Susan Saulny in July of 2012 entitled ‘Stung by Recession, Young Voters Shed Image as Obama Brigade.’ The votes of college students and other first time voters are crucial to the Presidential election because we are a large percentage of the population with the ability to change to vote. In 2008, the vote of college students significantly impacted Barack Obama’s bid for office ac-cording to USA Today’s article in January of 2012 ‘Economy, New Voting Laws Will Impact Youth Vote in 2012 Elections.’ We have the power to do the same in November, but many students seem to have given up on political leaders.
Their doubts are understandable. Why vote? Why bother if things aren’t going to change? These are the questions on the minds of some young voters.
The truth is, only four years have passed since Obama took over our dramatic economic decline. Even though we are still going through tough times, our nation has improved. In October 2009, the unemployment rate rose to 10 percent, now it has decreased to approximately 8.1 percent ac¬cording to the Bureau of Labor statistics. In his article ‘Swift Rescue in U.S. Provides Lessons for Europe,’ Lee Sachs, an investment banking writer for the New York Times, stated, “Policy makers here still have more work to do to strengthen the economy and promote job growth.” He also stated that in 2008 and 2009 politicians got to work quickly on the economy, and if they wouldn’t have done so, America could have suffered greater losses and unemployment rates. Hence, it was due to voters coming together in the election of 2008 that ultimately changed the direction of the U.S.
However, only three years have passed since the peak of the recession, which some would say is not enough time to resolve the economic crisis we still face today. This is a component driving the importance for students to take initiative and vote. The economic direction of the U.S. is in the hands of its citizens.
In essence, we need to make a decision. Voting, believe it or not, gives us a stronger voice. There are approximately 30 million college students in America, according to the National Center for Labor Statistics, Presidential candidates see the demographic of those who vote, and if they see a strong number of college students, they will consider policies in our favor because we were the ones who potentially helped that leader get into office.
When it comes to voting, many of us may feel like we don’t matter. We do; we just need to speak louder. Voting is not only about making a decision regarding where you want the future of your country to go, it is about taking initiative. It is about standing up and making an educated decision that will inevitably impact us as a nation, especially us under-employed students who will one day need health care and jobs we can depend on. Not to mention that one day we will need to pay our loans back to the banks that are already increasing our annual percentage rates.
Because New York does not currently have the mandatory photo ID laws that are being practiced in some states for this election, students from other states can register and vote freely without being denied at the polls for not having New York State Identification. If you are registered to vote in another state, Google your state policies to find out how you can cast an absentee ballot. If you do so, please make sure your ballot isn’t received after Election Day. For information and help deciding where to vote, visit www.countmore.org. For more information on deadlines, please visit http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html. To register to vote online, visit www.rockthevote.com. Vote 2012.