Midterm Elections 2018: Are you voting?

During the November 2016 election, the age bracket with the lowest percentage of voters registered was 18-24 year olds, according to the United State Census Bureau. But for the midterm elections today, a record number of young people have registered to vote. Nonetheless, some students do not plan to cast their votes, due to missed deadlines, complications with out-of state registration, or just lack of awareness. Jake Mehlman ‘21 is one of the students who did not vote due to self-proclaimed lack of awareness.

“I still don’t actually know what the voting is for. I guess I saw a couple of signs at places, but nothing really,” said Mehlman. This seems to be a common sentiment, even though we live in an age where information is easily accessible. As a result, many organizations, such as vote.org and bestcolleges.com, are aiming to educate college students on why their vote matters and offer information on registration and absentee ballots. Several students believe that more of those eligible to vote, should be voting to make their voices heard. Jennifer Zhuge ‘21 would encourage those who do not think they have the time to vote to reconsider.  

“The decisions that we make right now will start to make greater impacts when we have actual jobs,” she said. Several other students also shared this sentiment and commented on the distinct viewpoint we can offer society. Isaiah Tulanda ‘20 said that we should vote to reflect our perception of the world.  

“We have a very unique experience and political stance,” he said. “Not saying we’re monolithic, but growing up in this age of social media and of climate change that’s on the brink of catastrophic damage— that’s very different than our parents’ or even grandparents’ experiences,” shared Tulanda. Through voting for representatives, we have the opportunity to work on issues that will impact our future and those that come after us.

Since Claremont McKenna comprises of many international students, there is a large population on campus without the ability to vote.  An international student from China wishes that they could have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming elections.

“In China, we barely know the person we are voting for and cannot control the things that are important for our future. [In America] you are voting for someone who really matters in the political system, especially because they are making decisions for the future and representing you,” they said. Many students come from countries with different forms of government and want to learn more about American voting, especially in the current political climate. The results of our elections have implications that reach far beyond the borders of our country.

CMC has been taking initiatives to get students registered to vote. Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Dianna Graves emailed students about voter registration and offered herself as a resource for more information. “One of the privileges in the U.S. democracy is the opportunity to vote in political elections,” said Graves in her email. Students agree with this sentiment and want their peers to vote because they will feel the effects of current policies for years to come.

“Please vote; do you want some crotchety 60 or 70 year old person deciding which laws will affect you the most or do you want to be able to say, ‘No, I believe in this therefore I will vote that way?’” asked Tulanda. With this in mind, we have the power to decide whether we take steps to improve our country, or face the consequences of our inaction later.

The 5C Voting Location is Edmunds Ballroom, Pomona College from 7am - 8pm.