Young voters take responsiblity in upcoming national elections

According to a 2008 survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau called “Reasons For Not Voting, By Selected Characteristics,” 21 percent of people from ages 18 to 24 cited “Too busy, conflicting schedule” as a reason for not voting, followed closely by “Out of town” and “Not Interested.”

However, contrary to those statistics, there are seniors who will be voting.

In the week of Feb. 6, Virginia voter registrars came during IB Topics classes to help eligible seniors become registered voters.
According to IB co-coordinator and history teacher Matt Axelrod, voter registration in history classes is an annual practice that has been happening since he began teaching at Marshall.

Senior Jonathan Gracia was one of the seniors who registered to vote.

“It’s everyone’s civic duty to vote and as a patriot, I want to contribute,” he said.

According to Gracia, the reason people do not vote is because “they don’t like the candidates and feel like not voting is some kind of statement.”

Senior July Laszakovits, who also registered during her IB Topics class, said she felt voter apathy was because “a lot of people just don’t think their vote [could] make a difference.”

Senior Austin Hoskins’ believes society is the cause of low turnout and it is progressing from a society with “general issues to a society that nitpicks at things like marriage.”

“We slowly get used to the idea that the government can only do so much. That’s why in order for people to vote they have to be able to think that the person they are putting in charge will actually aim at issues that concern them,” he said.

“I would lose money,” Hoskins said when asked if he would bet against Obama’s second term.

Gracia iterated similar feelings in regard to the presidential election.

“I don’t think there’s a candidate strong enough to beat Obama.”

Gracia said that the Obama Administration was heading in a positive direction and that the president had successfully concluded the War in Iraq.

“We didn’t just leave,” he said. “We definitely accumulated some things – some good came out of it,” Gracia said.

Both Gracia and Laszakovits believe that many of the Republican candidates are personally flawed and exposure of these flaws to the public eye has placed them on the defensive in voting.

The Republican candidates “aren’t great,” Laszakovits said.

According to Axelrod, “you hear on the news that people are not that excited about Mitt Romney; people are not that excited about Newt Gingrich and so voter turnout [for those candidates] is way down.”

Axelrod believes that voting turnout is cyclical and depends on the qualities of the candidates.

“People were passionate about Obama,” he said. The number of voters rose exponentially in the 2008 election, resulting in a “huge backlash against [Obama] when there was a much larger turnout [in 2008].”