Before Tuesday’s state election, students, faculty and staff were polled on their participation, knowledge and personal opinions on the candidates and issues. The poll showed that, as is widely suspected, many students do not vote.
Time and transportation are some of the factors that students agreed limited them from being able to participate in casting a vote.
“[I’ll vote] if I find the time to go home, because you have to vote in your township,” said Amanda Sizemore, junior math education major.
Another significant factor, at least for lack of participation in local elections, is that many Ferris students, who make up a significant portion of the Big Rapids community, aren’t from the Mecosta area, and thus aren’t registered to vote on local candidates.
“For students, it could be difficult if they’re not registered here,” agreed David Scott, librarian at FLITE. “They probably didn’t think to get an absentee ballot, so they’re not going to go home on a Tuesday night. I think we need to make it easier [for students] to vote.”
What are some of the other reasons students don’t participate in elections?
“Probably because they don’t have a lot of information on the election itself,” said Courtney Zeilinski, sophomore communications major, “and I guess if they knew more about the issues and they had a stronger opinion, perhaps then they would vote.”
Zeilinski admitted to being one of those students who didn’t vote out of lacking information, but she said, “I do think it’s important for students to vote so they can kind of take a role in what’s going on and be a part of it and get involved.”
“I don’t know, I’ve just never voted for the States,” said Marie Okoin, sophomore sonography major and native of the Ivory Coast. “I think it’s a lack of knowledge. It’s not that [students] don’t think it’s important, they just don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference. [But] it’s better to be educated. Whoever they’re going to elect is going to affect you positively or negatively, so it’s really important to vote. Maybe I should think about it.”
“I think [students] are sick of it,” said Rodney Gardei, computer technician. “They’re sick of the politics and the fighting and the never getting anything done; same old, same old.”
Natalee Larson, sophomore pre-pharmacy major, said that the likely cause of college age students deciding not to vote was the time it took to go through the process.
“I think people care,” said Larson, “but they don’t realize that their effort can make a difference. They think they don’t have a part in politics in a way, at least based on the people I know.”
Other students have more personal reasons for choosing not to vote.
“I’ve never voted and I don’t really plan on voting,” said Kachine Bean, senior construction management major. “Part of it is religious reasons, but also because I choose not to, because the only person I’d vote for is Jesus Christ. Whoever God has chosen [will win].”
What were some opinions around campus on the candidates themselves? “They’re all a bunch of bozos,” said Scott. “I think they’re all pretty terrible. I’ve become a little disenfranchised. I will probably not vote for the ‘Elephant.’ I don’t vote for Elephants; I vote for Donkeys.”
“I’ll probably vote for Snyder [for governor] again,” Sizemore said, “because I like what he’s already done so far in office, and probably Sprague [for Senate], because he’s vying for education and I’m interested in education.”
Corey Nichols, sophomore architecture major, has personal experience with Governor Snyder.
“Rick Snyder is my mom’s friend’s cousin,” said Nichols. “He’s very strict on the topic of healthcare. He doesn’t like Obamacare, I can tell you that! Rick just doesn’t have a very good ‘human’ view. He’s very against human and civil rights. Mark Schauer, I hear, is very liberal in that sense. I will not be voting for Rick. He’s done great wonders for the economy, but other than that, I don’t really agree with any of his [views on] human rights and social issues.”
Even those planning to vote admitted that they did not have enough information on the November 4 election when asked last Friday.
“I haven’t been following it as much as I should have,” said Gardei. “I usually vote a straight Republican ticket anyway.”
“[I know] only a little bit, but this weekend I am researching,” said Larson. “I really have not looked into it until now.”
One of the issues voted on in the election was a wolf-hunting season in Michigan.
“It’s more of a local issue for the Upper Peninsula,” said Gardei. “They should be deciding for themselves instead of the whole state deciding what’s best for them up there.”
“As much as I am for animal rights, I feel like we can tackle bigger issues other than that,” said Nichols. “I go against the hunting of wolves. A bigger issue to me is [that] in Russia, they’re actually hunting gay people.”
Voting takes place on November 4 at a variety of local precincts. Those not registered to vote in the area are recommended to request an absentee ballot for there voting area.