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Voting is important for college students

College students need their voices to be heard

By OLIVIA LUECKEMEYER
On November 1, 2012

With the presidential election only days away, students are busy educating themselves on the issues and making arrangements to get out and vote this November.
The range of issues important to Loyola student voters covers a fairly large spectrum - from student debt, to the national budget, to women's rights - and many are eager to find the best way to have their voices heard.
Loyola University's Community Action Program, LUCAP, has partnered with MTV's Rock the Vote in order to educate students on the candidates and help them through the process of registering and obtaining an absentee ballot.
For the undecided voter, LUCAP's external affairs chair and political science junior, Jacqueline Joseph, recommends www. isidewith.com, which matches you with a candidate based on your answers to a brief questionnaire. It is a helpful resource in comparing your views with that of the candidates.
Joseph also stresses the importance of individual autonomy when choosing a candidate.
"As long as you are voting for a candidate because you chose to vote for this person, not because everyone in your family votes this way or your home state votes this way. It's all about understanding which candidate best represents your interests," Joseph said.
Communications senior Allyson Hodapp recognizes the importance of educating yourself on either candidates and basing your decision on viewpoints rather than party affiliation.
"Because of basic human rights, I have always leaned more towards Democratic views than Republican. That doesn't mean I would never vote Republican - in any election I would be open to hearing both sides."
Other students, such as political science senior Ranmali DeSilva, say that issues such as military spending should be in the forefront of voters' minds this election.
"While I fully support our military, I think it's important to understand where the United States falls in terms of military spending and power in its present state before we begin allocating more funds towards it."
Joseph says that regardless of which issues strike a chord with you, voting is of the utmost importance and should not be undermined.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2008 Presidential election, the 18-24 year-old voters were the only age group that showed a significant increase in turnout from 47 percent in 2004 to 49 percent in 2008.
Even though the younger age group showed the most significant increase in turnout they still had the lowest voting rate, with age groups 45-64 and 65-plus with the highest voting rates at 69 percent and 70 percent, the United States Census Bureau said.
These statistics show that the 18-24 year-old age group has started to go out and vote more frequently than in past elections, but the numbers are still very low compared to older age groups.
For a generation of highly opinionated individuals, Joseph finds it unacceptable that our age group has such an insignificant presence in the voting world.
"If you choose not to vote, you choose to say you don't have a voice. And you do have a voice. Our generation is very vocal about everything else. We feel like we have the right to comment on anything because we can Google it and find our answer. So we have a voice on the Internet but we still don't have a voice on paper and that is not okay," Joseph said.
Olivia Lueckemeyer can be reached at moluecke@loyno.edu


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