Students paying attention as election draws near

Many college students may be first time voters in the November election. Photo courtesy USF Oracle

The beginning of this week marked 100 days until Election Day on Nov. 3. What has always been a highly  anticipated day for Americans, is particularly exciting for many college students who may be first-time voters or who may have really started to pay attention to politics in the past few years.

Many events have taken place this year that have shifted the focus off of Election Day. Events such as COVID-19, confrontation between civilians and law enforcement and even rumors and conspiracies of pedophilia rings orchestrated by elitists. All of these things however point back to the election as many will use their power to vote to help change how our political leaders are responding to these issues.

Aliyah Knight is a third-year political science major at Florida A&M who is very concerned with the state of our nation come November.

Even if you’re not the most informed or super into politics, it’s important to at least understand the basics of how much contemporary politics impact you, both locally and nationally,” Knight said.

Knight uses apps like Apple News and Twitter to read news and Google to fact-check and view multiple sources. She believes the biggest shift in our nation is how different leaders will respond to COVID-19.

If the current president wins the election then it probably won’t be much of a difference from how things are right now,” Knight said. But if one of the other candidates wins then I think we could see some big changes in how the pandemic is being handled.”

Being aware of how politicians are responding to public crises is a great first step to being an informed voter. Another way students are centering their focus is by getting involved.

Travis Ancion is a fourth-year political science and international relations student. He became a field organizer for Florida Democrats after the opportunity presented itself in his FAMU email.

My duties are mainly to directly contact voters, voter registration and volunteer recruitment/training,” Ancion said.

Many students who get involved politically may even decide to run for public office in the future. Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is a FAMU alumna who is being considered by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to be vice president.

She is an amazing well-rounded woman who really radiates ‘excellence with caring,’” Ancion said. To see an alumna of my beloved university doing and inspiring such great work in the world really motivates me to see what I can achieve one day.”

Although Millennials and Gen Z will make up the largest generations of eligible voters this November, according to the Campus Vote Project organization, there are still factors that may contribute to why they may not turn out at the polls or vote by mail.

Historically, young adults have voted at lower rates than older cohorts,” Campus Vote Project says. They are also the newest members of our democracy, move more frequently, are less likely to have a drivers license, and are less likely to be contacted directly by political campaigns then older age groups, all of which are barriers to registering and voting.”

As the election draws closer and closer, college students who want to exercise their civic duty and vote may want to center their focus by making sure they have the proper state identification and send in their ballots early if voting by mail.

The Florida primaries will take place Aug. 18.