ENGAGING STUDENT CITIZENS

Lakers should exercise their political voices

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 10/11/15 11:00pm

editorial


The majority of students at Grand Valley State University are over the age of 18, which means we have the opportunity to vote in elections. Statistics show, however, that this right is not being used.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50.9 percent of 18-24 year olds voted in 1964, while only 38 percent of that voting block voted in 2012. Our grandparents and parents were more likely to vote than we are today. The older generations took advantage of American democracy by voting, which gave them a voice.

Though times have changed since then, voting is still important for college-aged students today. It might seem like a hassle or like you don't have enough time, but there are so many opportunities to register to vote. Plus, the process is relatively quick and painless.

One way is simply by walking through campus this week. Students can register to vote at the Secretary of State mobile office, which the GVSU student senate and Community Service Learning Center are bringing to campus on Oct. 14 and 15.

College students are often less likely to vote and are therefore underrepresented when it comes to election day. It's important that we contribute our values and perceptions to the government we are inheriting as our own. It's no secret to politicians that college-aged students don't vote. They know that, and so they don't have to pay attention to issues that are important to 18 to 24-year-olds, like how expensive college tuition is or the disproportionately high rates of unemployment for young people. If more college students went out to the polls, then candidates running for office would be forced to pay more attention to these types of issues. However, the only way that students will be able to vote and make their voices heard is if they think ahead and register to vote. This is the first step in becoming an engaged citizen of the U.S.

As students of GVSU, a liberal arts college, we are receiving a liberal arts education to prepare us to be well-rounded, educated, critically-thinking democratic citizens. This is our opportunity to show people that we're knowledgable about the issues, that we care about what is going on in our environment and that we're lucky enough to live in a country where we have a voice.

Voting is your chance to have a say in government. Don't let it slip by because you didn't register to vote.

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