The Impact of young voters

Gerald Maib for The Easterner

By Lauren Reichenbach, Copy Editor

Lauren Reichenbach is The Easterner’s copy editor. Her opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Easterner, its staff or Eastern Washington University. This article has not been edited except for AP style.

With Super Tuesday happening March 3, the stress is on for Democratic presidential candidates all across the country. EWU students are also feeling pressure, attempting to raise awareness for their preferred candidates.

While many college students think voting doesn’t matter, making our voices heard in the 2020 elections is now more crucial than ever. The last four years have been a political whirlwind, and with an impeachment only two months behind us, tensions are at an all-time high between parties.

Young adults account for approximately half the voting-eligible population. Our votes have the most potential impact this coming election.

Gabe Hernandez, president of the College Republicans on Campus club, believes being well informed before voting is extremely important.

“It is every American’s right to vote, but it is a right that should be exercised responsibly,” said Hernandez. “College aged kids who are up-to date on issues and know enough about candidates should absolutely vote, but those who get their news exclusively from social media, or only one side of the aisle probably should not vote. Voting affects everyone in your area, not just you personally.”

“It is every American’s right to vote, but it is a right that should be exercised responsibly,”- Gabe Hernandez, President of College Republicans

However, many students are still skeptical as to whether or not their individual votes really matter that much. With how the Electoral College is set up, some candidates win the presidency even when other candidates had more votes. In the 2016 election, President Donald Trump won despite having lost by over 2.5 million votes in the popular vote.

Since a majority of states are either red or blue, many voters feel like their votes won’t matter. If their voter preference is opposite the state’s, what’s the point of voting if it won’t change anything?

A single vote certainly won’t turn the tables of the entire state, but Hernandez urges students to vote regardless. “If enough people think that [their votes don’t count], the cumulative lack of votes can be the difference in an election,” said Hernandez. Tessa Smith, a member of Students for Bernie, also believes voting matters, regardless of the voting process.

Photo obtained by Randle Kinswa for The Easterner from Wikimedia commons
Graph of states that will be involved in Super Tuesday on March 3. States in blue are contested states.

“When you vote, you could be directly affecting the lives of other people who need your vote to help their well-being and lives,” said Smith. “Minorities really depend on those votes. I’m trans. I rely on people getting out and voting for my rights.”

Smith also believes increased voter turnout leads to more protection for minorities and prevents them from being overpowered or silenced by oppressive regimes.

“If you can vote, you should vote,” said Smith “Some people don’t have that liberty, and you need to stand up for those people.”

Even if a single vote can’t change the outcome of the election, voting definitely is a right we should not take for granted. If we want to see unfair policies change and make living in this country equal for everyone, making our voices heard through casting our votes is the first step.•

If you would like to register to vote, you can go to https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx?ref=voteusa