Due to the encouragement on the Pacific campus and campuses statewide to get students to vote, 50,000 Oregon students have registered to vote in the past three weeks.
“A lot of students are working and following the national campaign. We are making great strides but there is still a lot that can be done,” said James Moore, professor of political science. “For example, there could be political discussions about how the campaign will effect careers in health care and science classes.”
For the past three weeks, students involved in civic engagement have been available and on call to help voters get registered in Oregon, California and Hawaii.
The most significant of these days was on Sept. 25, National Voter Registration Day, when students were out in Trombley Square with cookies and registration forms.
“Even though so many people have registered recently, the overall vote for people under 30 has very little impact on a normal election because the people under 30 have such little turn out compared to the rest of the voters. It was the same problem we had when I was in college,” said Moore.
Major reasons students opt out of registering to vote or voting is because they do not come from a family where voting is a norm, they do not agree with the electoral system and refrain from voting as a statement, or they are discouraged by the steps to voting and keeping up to date on political events.
“I’m not going to vote in this election. I just feel like I’m not up to date on what each candidate represents so if I voted I wouldn’t be doing anyone any good. I would just be filling in bubbles,” said freshman Dawne Yamamoto.
Student-affiliated groups such as the students involved in civic engagement, Pacific University Democrats and students involved in Moore’s Politics and Elections course have been hard at work trying to change this consensus of not voting among students, in many cases putting in five hours a week knocking on doors and calling students to inform them about voting.
“I feel like so many people of our generation today either don’t vote or vote ignorantly,” said freshman Madison Meltebeke. “So it’s my civic duty to pick up the slack from them and be both registered to vote and well-informed about the election.”
The driving issue in today’s elections, specifically the presidential election, is the economy.
“The issue of economics has not changed from the last election, rather, this election is more of a referendum of how well president Obama has done in turning the economy around,” said Moore.
Although it is now too late to register to vote for the elections in November, student organizations continue to urge students to register to vote in the future.
“Registering to vote, especially in your first election, is extremely important because it instills a habit of voting in the future elections,” said Moore.