The Importance of Registering to Vote

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The Importance of Registering to Vote

Keri Marable, Centurion Staff

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First District candidates are preparing for this year’s upcoming midterm election on Nov. 6. Depending on how this election goes, we could be facing a Democratic majority house.
Bucks County’s district (district one) is historically a swing district. Which explains the volunteers coming to Bucks urging students to register to vote while they can. The deadline to register is Oct. 6.
You may have been stopped on campus by people holding clipboards asking if you have registered to vote yet. Those people are a part of the organization NextGen America.
NextGen America is a youth voting program in the country. In Pennsylvania, NextGen have over 120 employed organizers and student interns registering students to vote.
“Our mission is to empower young people to be political change makers in local and national elections so that our lawmakers stand up for us in Washington,” said NextGen organizer and Bucks student, Casey Parent.
Since June, Parent has been with NextGen Pennsylvania as a field organizer.
“Basically I’m working to build a network of young volunteers, register hundreds of students to vote, and educate these new young voters about issues and candidates that are on the ballot come November,” said Parent.
When asked why it is important that college students register to vote, Parent said, “Young people are the largest eligible voting block in the country. We have the power to make major changes to the outcomes of our local and national elections, which would massively change who represents us and the decisions they make about our future.”
Parent continued, “Unfortunately, young people turn out in notoriously low rates. It’s important for young people to realize the power of their voice, we have the power to save the world, but we have to take an active role in the voting process.”
NextGen has registered over 21,000 young people to vote, over 8,000 of them just during campus move-in. Across their nation-wide program, they have registered over 131, 000 Pennsylvanians to vote this year.
College professors also know how important it is to vote and be registered to vote. Professor Mark Cobb has worked at Bucks for 10 years and is currently a professor of philosophy and the humanities. Cobb’s bachelor’s degree is a double major in philosophy and political science.
When asked why he believes college students should register to vote, Cobb said, “Registering to vote is still important, especially in local and state level elections. Local elections are often much more democratic than national/presidential elections,”
Cobb continued, “I am politically independent and independent candidates are usually not allowed to participate in presidential debates. It is also important to remember that the quality of elections could be improved and made fairer.”
Annette Conn, a full time faculty member in language and literature, and a former department dean and provost of the College also commented on the importance of registering to vote.
“It is our obligation as citizens in a democracy to keep informed and to actively support candidates who represent our values. Not voting is the same as saying “whatever,” and then you forfeit your rights as citizens, and you are stuck with what you get,” Conn said.
John Petito is an associate professor of history and government at Bucks. Petito started in 2004 and for eight years he was dean of the department of social and behavioral sciences.
Petito teaches early and modern US history and American national government. His political career started early, “I’m a child of the sixties so civil rights and anti-war activities were political activities.”
Petito worked on a Congressional Campaign in Boston as well as a New Jersey political campaign as a Treasurer.
When asked what the importance of voting is, Petito said, “For people your age the Supreme Court appointments will decide what America is going to look like for the next 40 years.”
Petito continued, “This is a critical election, as the future of the country’s going to be decided here. It’s really important for students, with whatever time they have left, to educate themselves as best they can and then choose their candidate. [Students] could change the nation if every student voted but they don’t. [Students] have more at stake in this election then you know.”
Larry Powell, an exercise science major, believes that voting in this current system is trivial.
“There’s a lot that people say you can vote for to change, and it seems that the more people [that] vote, a lot of things still don’t change. I don’t see the benefit of voting if it’s not going to change anything,” Said Powell
Powell also went on to say, “We get a voice to vote, but it seems like whatever we choose [politicians] say what they want and they get what they want but the citizens don’t get what they want.”
Even though Powell chooses to abstain from voting, he doesn’t recommend it for everyone. “Itʼs just my personal choice that I don’t want to vote. I’m not persuading people not to vote. I guess there is a way you can cause change, but I feel like for me, [voting is] not causing change. I don’t approve of voting at this point.”
In contrast to Powell, Ethan Savikis, a computer networking major, thinks voting is important.
“I volunteered in the past and you’re vote can change the county and you get enough people around you involved, you are going to make a difference,” Savikis said.
When asked what can be done to get more students to register, Savikis said, “[People] can’t enforce voting, but we can definitely have it accessible and have it brought up in front of the people”.
Club President of College Republicans, Zach Shoester, is also actively urging students to register to vote.
“Whether younger people think so or not, these elected officials are going to be making decisions that affect all of us at home…We need to make sure our voices are heard in Washington through the electoral process, get involved if you can, to try and make sure your voice and opinions are heard in our government,” said Shoester.
Vice President of Bucks College Democrats, Shanzeh Khan, believes that “It’s important that as an American Citizen, they exercise their right and go out and vote.”
Khan went on to say “Most often people complain about how things are in society, the way things are, our laws, etc. but those same people are usually people who didn’t vote. If you vote and get your voice out and heard then you can be the change you aspire to be. Make an impact on Society by exercising your right to vote!”
To register, go to register.votePA.com or make a visit to your local DMV.

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