This article appeared in an April 2016 issue of the student newsletter.
By Gilda Ordonez
Brookhaven Courier Staff Writer
The U.S. is waiting to see if college-age voters will play a key role in the 2016 presidential election. Current trends show they have lost faith in the government and believe their vote is irrelevant.
In the 2008 presidential election, 44% of 18-24-year-olds voted – the smallest amount of all age groups, according to cnbc.com. That number dropped to 38% in the 2012 election. Brookhaven College is abuzz with speculation about which candidate will be elected and whether he or she will keep his or her promises.
“I like Bernie Sanders,” Kelvin Brock, a student, said. “He speaks the truth about what he will do for America, and I’m all about honesty.” Voting is the most important civic opportunity for individuals hoping to affect change on the future. Other issues, such as gun control, free tuition and affordable health care should be topics of concern for college students, but they remain apathetic at the polls.
Valencia Cummings, a student, said: “There is no point in me voting. Even if I had a choice, I don’t think it will matter because it’s up to our representatives, and one vote won’t make a difference.” Cummings is not the only student who feels a lack of power in her vote. A change may come when students feel they can make a difference and feel a sense of responsibility for their community.
According to huffingtonpost. com, President Barack Obama saw a decline in young voters during both of his presidential elections, giving him a smaller victory margin. In 2008, 66% of voters age 18-29 voted for Obama, while only 36% voted for John McCain, according to huffingtonpost.com. In 2012, only 60% of 18-29-year-olds voted for Obama, compared to the 31% who voted for Mitt Romney.
Presidential candidates, such as Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are trying to win votes and explain to the country why they are the best choice. Citizens will have a chance to vote in the coming months and make a difference.
This will be a good time to study the candidate’s policies, the heart of their campaigns and what they will do for college students. Leslie Lopez, a student, said she likes Clinton because she has presidential experience, but will probably not vote. “I’m only 19 years old, and this could be my first time voting,” she said.
With social media and the Internet, there are many articles to read about which candidate might be in line with one’s personal beliefs and morals. It takes more than a few minutes to make a long-term decision, which is why it’s important to research each candidate thoroughly. We the people can make a difference.