The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Student leaders weigh in on voting

Students registered to vote in Hughes-Trigg Commons on Tuesday.
Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus
Students registered to vote in Hughes-Trigg Commons on Tuesday.

Students registered to vote in Hughes-Trigg Commons on Tuesday. (Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

The Republican and Democratic National Conventions came and went a few weeks ago, leaving America with the two party candidates Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

Now that voting for the presidential election is less than seven weeks away, those of voting age can narrow down his or her candidate choice. But members of the SMU community, and even voters around the country, appear to be struggling with their decisions.

After the two conventions, many young voters find themselves conflicted. Sophomore Madeline Dockery-Fuhrmann said that she is excited for her first opportunity to vote for the next president, she finds herself getting lost in the campaigning chaos.

“It’s hard to get excited for this election when it feels like I am voting for a brand name rather than a person who is going to handle the very real issues,” Docker-Fuhrmann said. “[I want] to vote based on facts about the candidates, [but it’s] difficult to sift through all the campaigning.”

Michael Graves, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said that even though students may not be educated enough to feel confident in choosing a candidate, they are still motivated to vote. Graves admits while there may not be a “leading” candidate in every voter’s mind, people recognize the need for action.

“I think that students care about the elections, but I also think that many vote strongly with their parents,” Graves said.

“I feel like we’re trying to figure out who is going to not let the country sit stagnant.”

Professor Calvin Jillson said many voters are “ambivalent” about their upcoming presidential choice because they “lack confidence in both parties” on the ballot.

“[Voters] ask, if Republican Party politics caused the collapse and the Democratic policies have been unable to turn things around, what do I do now?” Jillson said.

“Compelling [presidential]candidates are uncommon.”

Jillson explained that aside from partisan voters, most Americans are “fired up only occasionally.” In 2008, President Obama was a “compelling candidate” driving a higher-than-normal number of youth to the polls.

Jillson said, if young people mostly “stay home” during this year’s election, it would be “something of a return to form.” Both SMU College Republicans and SMU College Democrats hope that fact will change.

“It’s [the youth] who needs to get out there and kind of force that change,” Tucker Keene, member of SMU College Republicans, said.

Keene acknowledges that the voting registration process can be “obnoxious” for many students, especially when trying to vote absentee for their home state.

But Keene, College Republicans and College Democrats continue to educate young voters on the voice that they have in hopes that it will encourage them to vote.

“The College Democrats and College Republicans will be working together to make sure there’s a high youth turnout,” Keene says.

Michael Wilburn, president of SMU College Democrats, blamed the current political atmosphere for the lack of “excitement” behind either candidate. If young generations want to see that atmosphere improve, Wilburn believes young people need to make themselves heard.

“I don’t think [the youth] realize they have to vote and get involved to change that,” Wilburn said.

There will be many events around campus in the upcoming weeks to help students learn more about the candidates and the voting process.

Check the Hughes-Trigg Student Center for voter registration and campaign drives.  

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