After a three-year hiatus, SF State student residents will once again be able to vote on campus this November. But will they?
As journalists, we are aware of the importance of participating in the democratic process and we would like to think the same of our fellow students. So it came as a shock to us, with an election of such importance looming, that some of our peers don’t see the significance of stepping into the voting booth.
In 2008, only 48.5 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. Yet, there is good news — the numbers are on our side. College-age voter turnout has been trending upward over the last two presidential elections, rising roughly 12 percent over that time period, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
While this rise in voter turnout among our demographic is encouraging, just less than half of these eligible voters actually made it to the polls last time around.
We understand that politics, especially on the federal level, can be off-putting. Every four years we are told by both sides, in between millions of dollars worth of attack ads, that this election is “the most important choice in a generation.” It can get old quickly.
We understand that the negativity associated with politics can be downright nasty and can serve to dissuade an undecided or inexperienced voter.
We understand that one vote can seem insignificant in a state that has voted for a Democratic nominee in every presidential election since 1992.
We also understand that our colleagues in the media can make it seem like the race for the Oval Office is the only one that matters, but this is not the case.
Each measure impacts our future. Each vote matters.
This year, like most, voters will decide on a host of propositions toward the bottom of the ballot, which will take up issues ranging from the death penalty to labeling genetically modified foods.
But students at SF State will have a direct say in how much they pay for the privilege of attending our beloved University as they decide how to vote on Proposition 30. If it fails, we will each face a $150 hike in tuition. That’s your money getting flushed down the drain because of your voter apathy. If it passes, we will all be receiving a rebate check for roughly $250 as tuition rates will be retroactively rolled back to 2011-12 levels. We know you care about that.
We also know how much easier it would be to let Nov. 6 pass by as simply just another Tuesday. We understand how the political process can sometimes seem like it’s just one voice drowned out among a million others, but this time, honestly, every vote matters — including yours.