The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Voter apathy hurts political process, college students

    College students across the nation will soon become afflicted with a serious, widespread disease. Although it may seem strange, the illness normally strikes on the first Tuesday of every November, and it seems to concentrate on young adults. Even though it has no scientific name, the very thought of it is enough to make most proud Americans cringe. The condition that I am talking about is voter apathy. In just four days, students across the country will be given the opportunity to cast their ballot for several candidates who will represent them on both the state and the national level. Unfortunately, the problem is that the majority of college students nationwide could care less about who represents them on any level.
    Although the majority of young Americans have particular views on nearly every issue at hand, they are becoming increasingly apathetic when it boils down to going to the polls and voting. This apathy may be due, in part, to the fact that a number of students think politicians seldom listen to their ideas and opinions. Because they feel ignored, some students are reluctant to vote, and although they may not realize it, their lack of concern is actually affecting politics itself.
    Campaigns are becoming aimed more directly at the elderly, the wealthy and the educated. These are the groups of people that are the most likely to vote in any given election. Because most college students are not elderly, wealthy or fully educated, they feel excluded and become apathetic when it comes to voting.
    Although this is a vicious cycle, it has a simple solution. If young Americans across the nation would mobilize and vote on Election Day, then politicians would be forced to listen to what they have to say. After all, if college students joined the elderly, the wealthy and the educated as one of the groups that is most likely to vote, it would be in the best interest of the candidates to gear their campaigns toward the students as well.
    Another reason students may be reluctant to cast their vote is that some do not think that their vote will have an effect on anything. They may have a point. One vote may not change much, but 537 votes will. In the last presidential election, George W. Bush won the state of Florida by just 537 votes, giving him enough electoral votes to win the 2000 presidential election. That number is just 14 more than the number of freshman girls that live in Rice Hall here at Mississippi State.
    It is imperative that every American citizen votes. This Tuesday, Nov. 5, you will be given the chance to participate in choosing who will represent Mississippi in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Unfortunately, if you choose not to vote on Tuesday, you will be letting others select your leaders. In addition, you will join the millions of Americans across the country who suffer from voter apathy, a condition that could be fatal to us and our democracy. The good news is that it can easily be avoided by simply voting.
    Your vote is your voice. Let it be heard.
    Thomas Gregory is a sophomore management of construction and land development major.

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    Voter apathy hurts political process, college students