By Kirsten Nguyen, The Whetstone
Sophomore Kierra West has a dilemma.
“I don’t want to vote, but I don’t want to regret not voting,” she said.
Like West, many college students have the same dilemma as first-time voters: they don’t know who to vote for, and whether they should even bother.
“I feel like neither one is fit for the highest position in our country,” junior Zach Baker said.
Young people from 18-25 are the largest generation in the workforce, but only 38 percent of them voted in the 2012 election, according to the US Census.
At least one reason Wesley students have decided not to vote is because politicians don’t focus on issues they’re concerned about.
“Students feel like their vote doesn’t count, there’s nothing to influence us to vote,” sophomore Joey Simmons said.
Earlier, candidate Bernie Sanders rallied young voters by discussing issues that affect them now instead of later like social security.
“Originally, I was going to vote for Bernie because he felt like the more suitable fit,” Baker said.
The last time 18-24-year-olds voted in large numbers was President Barack Obama’s first election in 2008, when more than 44 percent voted.
If that was because Obama was the first African-American Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, now the first woman Democratic candidate, may also get young people out to vote.
In general, however, political scientists say that older people vote the most.
“Students think politics is a game old folks play,” Political Science Professor Dr. Tony Armstrong said.
Historically the older generation has significantly had a higher turnout on election day. In 2012, more than two-thirds of people 65 and older voted, compared to only a little more than a third of 18-24 year olds.
“Politicians don’t care about young folks, but will cater to the old,” Armstrong said.
Older generations are targeted by politicians because they have the most turn-out at the polls.
“The older generation is deciding my future even though what happens is going to affect my future more,” Simmons said.
A major problem for younger people is their lack of political education.
“Education is one of the most important things that empower people,” Political Science Professor Dr. Cynthia Newton said.
Anyone can register to vote who is over 18, but each state may have different rules. Students who go to school in Delaware have the choice to register to vote at home or using their Wesley address.
If a student registers at her home address and doesn’t want to go home to vote she can file an absentee ballot. All states have different deadlines and rules.