The 2016 Presidential Election has generated enormous amounts of attention. With candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the race, people who previously thought themselves to be disinterested in politics have found their curiosity aroused.
Many of those who find themselves suddenly drawn to the world of politics are millennials, or persons born between 1982 and 2004. In other words, most of us.
But considering a significant amount of Union students are away from home, ambiguity about how to vote arises. Couple this with the fact that for many college students the 2016 election will be the first they vote in and the result is low voter turnout.
Since the crux of the American system of government is voter participation, ensuring as many people vote as possible is key to a government that is truly representative of the people it serves. Lucky for us Unionites, our Associated Student Body (ASB) is aware of that fact and is taking steps to contribute to American democracy.
“TurboVote is a site used to help students register to vote,” says Drew Mekelburg, President of ASB. “Students are able to register in their own state, but from their dorm room or wherever they want.”
For those Unionites whose states have already held primaries, TurboVote is mainly a tool for registering for the general election in November.
Should any Union students want to vote in Nebraska, they would only be able to do so as a Republican, since the Democratic caucus was already held on March 5, Bernie Sanders being the victor. The Republican primary, however, is held on May 10, so for Unionites taking summer classes, working on campus, or just sticking around town for awhile after finals, the Nebraska Republican Primary might be their best option.
“It serves all parties and can be used at any time,” Meckleberg adds. So for those students who identify as members of the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party or simply as independents, TurboVote can work for them too.
ASB hopes TurboVote will not only make voting easier for as many students as possible but will also create a more informed student body when it comes to political issues. After all, the government works for us, not the other way around, so the more informed voters who participate, the better.
Using TurboVote is as easy as the idea is brilliant. To register through TurboVote, simply go to ‘ucollege.turbovote.org’ on any computer. Once there, you will be greeted by a cute dog which promptly identifies itself as Turbo.
From there, registering to vote is as easy as following a few simple steps. After filling in blanks with some basic information, any Union student can be ready to vote and not have to deal with the uncertainty and confusion of registering.
No doubt, it’s wonderful that ASB has provided Union with a service like TurboVote. However, the message that ASB and Union College stress by implementing this program is that using TurboVote, simply registering, is not enough.
ASB is telling the student body, “Get out and vote.” Exercise your civic duty, but even more importantly, take advantage of the opportunity provided to you that so many around the world don’t have. As the saying goes, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”
Jonathan Deemer is a freshman International Relations major.