By: Christopher Pope, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Staff
Fewer voters aged 18 to 24 are casting their ballot each year, said part-time Political Science instructor Richard Fox.
Young voters in general have no motivation to vote because they feel that their social and economic interests and concerns are not acknowledged in today’s politics, he said.
“It is getting more and more difficult for young voters to see how their interests are being served by today’s politicians. In return, making it very hard for them to see the benefit in voting,” said Fox.
The consequences of young citizens not voting is undermining what it means to be a citizen, with all the responsi bilities and obligations that are involved, said Fox.
“The confidence of young voters has been being eroded for quite some time now. It all started back in the 60’s with the Vietnam War and Watergate, coupled with massive government corruption which began the erosion of trust given by the American people,” said Fox.
General Studies major Dennis Carter said he has always voted, but has not always felt that his views are represented.
He said he thinks when he votes as an individual he is not making a difference, but when he and his peers vote, they are making a difference as a whole.
Voting is an important civic duty that gives people a way to confront matters in their community without violence, said Carter.
“It’s a good, non-violent way things get solved and a way to make things happen,” said Carter.
Fine Arts major Deidra Hill said that the upcoming presidential election will be her first, and that she feels strongly that her concerns and interests are represented by President Obama.
“He values the little guy and believes in the ideals of coming together and working as a team rather than ‘dog-eat-dog’,” said Hill.
Surveying Engineering major William Tyson said he feels he is represented to a certain extent, but politicians need to do a better job serving the interest of the lower and middle class, not just the people with money.
“I vote and think it’s something we all need to do, but I’m not sure if our votes really count,” said Tyson.
New Mexico Public Interest Research Group organizer Alex Corkett said young people listen more when someone of their own age group encourages them to engage in politics.
“That peer to peer interaction is more effective than having an older person approach them about their political participation at the ballot,” said Corkett.
A new initiative called the New Voters Project helps young voters become more informed about the voting process, said Corkett.
“Get Out the Vote will be out on campuses having students fill out pledge cards. We will be mailing those back to students with their polling information, and what their rights are as voters,” said Corkett.