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Student voting made easy

September 13, 2012

 

AMRIT AWAL
Staff Reporter

 

With the Nov. 6 presidential election just around the corner, Jacob Hable is excited to cast his vote for the next president because it is his first time to vote in a presidential election.

 

Hable, a senior animal science major, said he was unable to vote in the last presidential election because he was just 17 years old at the time of the election.

 

“I was a little behind everybody,” he said. “My birthday was a little behind for the election. I feel like I missed using my voice for a while.”

 

Hable said many students do not believe their vote will make any difference and ignore the fact that their representatives can actually change higher education and student loans policies.

 

“It’s the only way your voice is ever going to be heard,” Hable said. “If you just sit in your room, dream about it, but don’t actively go out and vote, then nothing is going to change.”

 

Philip Raeisghasem, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said he has not yet decided whether he will vote in this year’s presidential election in November.

 

Raeisghasem said he has not had a chance to think about the upcoming election because he is too busy focusing on school work and does not know enough to make an informed decision.

 

“I don’t know enough about either candidate and not sure who might be a good choice, so for me, it would be irresponsible to vote based on incomplete knowledge,” he said. “I have not made any plans for whom to vote for.”

Adam Collins, coordinator for multicultural affairs, said students should take time and realize that who citizens vote for affects taxes, laws and educational reforms in the near future.

 

“Students are impacted by their political leaders,” Collins said. “They can make changes in higher education funding, make scholarships available and also allow students to graduate with minimal debt by lowering the interest rates on student loans.”

 

Compared to other population age groups, students have fewer participants in almost every election, Collins said.

 

“For the most part, students are isolated from the real world,” Collins said. “Tuition keeps increasing, and we complain from time to time but don’t realize that we can have significant political influence by voting.”

 

In the 2008 presidential elections, 51.1 percent of American citizens between ages 18 and 29 participated in the election, according to a study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

 

Philip Longino, a senior supply chain management major, said he is planning to go back to his hometown of Houston just for Election Day.

 

Many students far from home may not be able to vote because it is inconvenient for them to absentee vote, Longino said.

 

“Some students might have exams during election week,” Longino said. “That could prevent students from participating in the election.”

 

In Louisiana, students living outside of the parish they are registered to vote in can apply for absentee voting either by visiting the Registrar of Voters’ website or by going to the Registrar of Voters’ office in that parish.

 

Dianna Stone, Registrar of Voters for Lincoln Parish, said if out-of-state students wish to vote here, they can register for voting here either online or in person.

 

They can also contact the state election official in their home state for information about voter qualifications and the procedure for voting in an election by way of an absentee ballot.

 

“An absentee ballot conveniently allows voting either in person at the county office before Election Day or by mail,” she said. “Students can take advantage of this easy voting procedure.”

 

Email comments to aaw024@latech.edu.

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