Why do students not vote?

A student’s viewpoint on the harm of not voting 

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

This generation is known for the dumbest things, from eating tide pods to “do it for the Vine” to our obsession with memes. However, one thing that we may be the dumbest about is voting. 

A lot of people – especially in this weird generation of being in between a Gen Z and a millennial- do not think about the importance of voting.

I’ve witnessed many friends, siblings, cousins, classmates, and strangers, not vote because they simply believed, “my vote doesn’t matter.” That’s where things can get dangerous, and extremely frustrating. 

Even K-12 graders vote more than us, as they are forced to vote for their student council during one of their class periods. Some people simply do not vote unless they have to, and in most cases that does not happen. 

We’ve all seen the dangers of not voting when President Trump was elected into office. I was 17 at the time, and I helplessly watched my 18-year-old sister decide not to vote, because she “doesn’t like any of the candidates” and that “Hillary will probably win anyway.” 

Even my American Government teacher predicted and ensured students that Hillary would win, and after elections was dumbfounded and said this was the first time his prediction was wrong. 

Was this lack of voting and the thought that “my vote doesn’t matter” the reason President Trump won? 

It’s not just big elections like the presidential election that the “my vote doesn’t matter” mentality affects, but also small elections, such as electing Student Government on campus, voting in referendums to increase tuition, or choosing board members for a huge association. 

Last semester the campus had students vote on adding a sports bubble to our school whilst adding a student fee to pay for said bubble.

I heard many friends express their opposition towards the sports bubble, and “forgot to vote.” Minnesota State University, Mankato has 15,000 plus students, and out of the campus population only 2,915 voted in the referendum with 1,900 voting in approval of the sports bubble. 

Imagine if all of the people who said they “forgot to vote” or the ones who didn’t care enough to bother or the ones who didn’t their vote would matter voted… maybe the results would be different. 

My friends in the International Student Association who ran for president and vice president lost the election, despite the many friends who promised to vote.

Throughout the week, I overheard people saying, “They’ll probably win anyway.” A friend told me they didn’t vote because it doesn’t matter if they do or not, that “it’s just one vote.” Out of the 1329 international students, only 361 voted. My friends needed 43 votes to win. Part of me wonders what would happen if everyone who promised to vote did. 

Hopefully people learn from their mistakes of not voting and quickly realize that their vote does matter, and that their vote can impact an entire country or a college campus for that matter. 

Student Government elections are coming up soon on April 9. These groups of students have a big impact on the future and present of our campus. They have millions of dollars of budgeting on the tips of their fingers. They make decisions and fix problems. Please vote, because it does matter. 

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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