Marcus Robinson is a junior at Towson University, a suburban university of 22,000 students just north Baltimore, and for him, voting is essential.
“Voting is important, because it is the time of year where we as individuals can get our voice heard through a ballot and make change,”Robinson, 22, said. “Everyone can make a difference.”
Just days before the Nov. 4 Midterm Elections, Robinson is among numerous students from colleges and universities in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area are encouraging their fellow students to get excited about voting.
Jasmine Turner, a student at Howard University, is encouraged by those efforts.
“I’ve seen students canvasing for candidates and volunteering at candidate offices,” Turner, 25, said. “I know some students who are working and interning on the Hill, and it’s great to see students getting active in the election and in their future.”
Turner encouraged young people to make their voices heard.
“We should prove to those who don’t believe we have substance, that we do care about our present as well as our future,” she said.
Attracting voters, particularly young voters, to Midterm Elections has always been difficult, according to experts. Voting participation traditionally tends to drop, polls show, when Americans are not also voting for president.
Young voters, who have traditionally had lower voter participation than other age groups, turned out in much larger numbers in 2008 and helped catapult Barack Obama to the presidency and 20012 were instrumental in the president retaining his office, electoral experts said.
The 2014 Midterm Election sign of significant importance, because it could determine the trajectory of the remainder of Obama’s presidency.
This election will determine if the Democrats can maintain control of the Senate or if the GOP will gain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Candidates and young people are urging young voters to go to the polls because there are numerous bills that can directly affect college students.
“It’s important for students to vote, because we represent a large population that can make a change and see a change by voting elected officials who we best believe will represent and defend our best interest,” said Nyah Collier, 22, a senior at George Mason University, “especially those interests that greatly affect students.”
Among the most important concerns for many students are loan forgiveness and the debt burdening students after graduation.
According to the Federal Bank of New York, student loan debt is more than all of the nation’s credit card and auto loan debt. Student loans totaled almost $1 trillion in 2013, twice what it was in 2007, while auto loan debt totaled $783 billion and credit card debt was $679 billion.
Those loans are certainly an issue for Sierra Kelley-Chung, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park.
“As a student I am concerned about the price of our education,” Kelley-Chung, 21, said. “I’m concerned about the well-being of students as they move into the work world, because our future is what will effect the economy,” Robinson agreed.
“If we want things like easier ways to get money to pay for school then we need to speak up,” she said.
Healthcare, minimum wage laws and immigration are also of concern for young people.
“As a nursing major, I really believe any issues regarding healthcare are something that concerns me, because I understand that there are many people against the Affordable Care Act, and that’s unfortunate,” said Collier of George Mason. “I believe that the intent of that is to do good by the people of the United States, especially those who do not have healthcare.”
Kelley-Chung said she thinks a lot of people, including young people, don’t clearly understand the importance of their vote.
“The legislative branch holds a lot of power, and is barley shown in the media as much as the executive branch is, and they are the people who are making the decisions that directly affect us,” she said. “I want the right people in those seats.”