Youth vote vital in election

“As the presidential election nears, University of Akron students can just barely hear the faint circus music of American politics growing louder every day. With just over one month remaining until the crucial and history-making election, the Buchtelite talked with Dr.”

As the presidential election nears, University of Akron students can just barely hear the faint circus music of American politics growing louder every day.

With just over one month remaining until the crucial and history-making election, the Buchtelite talked with Dr. John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics on campus.

The excitement in Dr. Green’s voice is infectious as he talked about the election and the key role that Ohio will play.

Ohio is usually a very close state, and to the extent that the presidential election is close, Ohio will likely be a critical state, explains Dr. Green.  In a close election, every vote matters.

For this reason, the Bliss Institute is helping other organizations on campus register more young voters before the Oct. 6 deadline.

Generally, young voters (aged 18-25) show up to the polls in disproportionally small numbers.

Young people are still figuring out their lives, still in college, and they are trying to establish families and so forth.  They have other things to worry about, says Dr. Green. 

Also, younger people don’t tend to be involved in their communities.

A lack of long-term ties to their community gives young people little reason to believe that they have a stake in the area they live or a responsibility to its other citizens.

Dr. Green believes that more young Americans, including students at UA, will vote this year for several reasons.

The economy may drive many more students to vote because they will be on their own in the real world by the end of the next president’s term.

Also, newer issues such as the war and environment will most likely bring college-age voters to the polls in droves.

Not since Ronald Reagan has Dr. Green seen a presidential candidate enamor the youth with so much success.

I do think the turnout of younger voters will go up, says Dr. Green, but I don’t know by how much.

Many believe that this year will mark the biggest turnout of young voters in decades. 

Many college students have grown weary of seeing depressing headlines for years and feel that they have the power to create change.

In an informal poll of 10 University of Akron students, each student planned to vote.

Sophomore corporate finance major Daniel Pleasant seemed more than ready to cast his vote.

It’s my first time voting, so I’ll definitely be out there, he said.

Most students at UA realize the historical significance as well as the personal impact this election will have on their generation.

It’s a pretty big election, stated freshman Kurt Kupchella.  I will be voting.

A new development in the closely watched election in Ohio is the unprecedented same day voting that will take place this week, starting today.

In the political shuffle of paperwork, somehow, two contradicting laws were passed. 

One dealt with the deadline of voter registration, and the other defined the earliest time that absentee ballots could be handed out.

In the end, the two laws created a window of time in which Ohio citizens could register and vote in the same day.

The problem is that Ohio has never had same-day registration and even has a law against it. 

Eight U.S. states allow voters to register on the same day, and one, North Dakota, does not even have registration. Five of those states rank in the top ten for voter turnout.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner upheld both laws, and the Supreme Court upheld her decision, creating the unique week-long window.

As a political scientist who likes to see how these things work, this situation is fascinating because we’re essentially getting an experiment, says Dr. Green.

Regardless, the 2008 election will prove to be history making in many ways.