Students weigh in on the importance of voting

Voting hours in the Marshall Student Center will last from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday for students and faculty that are registered to vote in Hillsborough County Precinct 353. ORACLE PHOTO/CHAVELI GUZMAN

For Tuesday’s primary election, the Marshall Student Center (MSC) will serve as a polling place for students and staff to cast their votes.

While this makes voting more convenient for the thousands of students and staff who are on campus, it also brings up the conversation of why students should be heading to the polls in the first place.

Voting in the MSC will begin at 7 a.m. and run through 7 p.m. for students and staff who are registered to vote in Hillsborough County Precinct 353. Those who wish to vote must bring their driver's license or another form of identification.

Nathaniel Sweet, a junior majoring in political science, said most young people are starting to realize the power they have.

As the younger generation grows more aware and informed of the current political climate, Sweet is confident that students will be more prone to elect the individuals who they think will fit the position.

“We stayed at home in 2016,” Sweet said. “Now we are seeing the consequences in real time. I’m optimistic that we won’t make the same mistake this year.”

According to Sweet, students need representatives whom they can count on.

“I think a lot of young people are frustrated with everything happening in the news,” Sweet said. “I think they (students) are looking for candidates that can give them something to hope for.”

Orlando Santana, a health science major, said that students who want change should definitely vote.

Santana said student disinterest in politics in general has resulted in a lack of representation.

“It’s the same people with the same opinions that are being represented,” Santana said. “I think, especially now, that students should voice their opinions on who they want to stand for them.”

According to a Pew Research analysis, only 46 percent of millennials (aged between 18 to 35) voted in the last presidential election compared to the 72 percent of the so-called silent-generation (71 years or older) voters.

Akash Shah, a junior majoring in  biomedical science, agreed that more young voters are needed, but he also said students’ busy lifestyles and lack of interest in politics are reasons for low representation.

“It’s really hard to get a lot of students to vote, because of schedules and classes,” Shah said. “Sometimes we are just not too motivated about it.”

On the other hand, some believe students should make more of an effort to get involved in elections despite them not wanting to get involved in political affairs.

Nisreen Atallah, a sophomore majoring in political science, said that students are taking their rights for granted.

“I think it’s important to use our voices,” Atallah said. “In some countries the general population has no say in who is in office.”

More than ever, Atallah said she believes that the U.S. will continue to lack in growth when citizens don’t perform their civic duties.

“Many people believe their voices do not matter,” Atallah said. “But they definitely do matter. Especially (today).”

The MSC also will hold general election voting Nov. 6.