November 4, 2008 by Mara Strom
It’s election day. Have you voted yet? You still have an hour left if you’re on the East Coast – and four more hours to vote if you’re out in California.
If you haven’t yet voted, stop reading this post right now, and RUN to your voting poll. If you have voted, read on!
For many of you, this is the first Presidential election in which you have been eligible to vote. What an exciting right of passage. Whoever wins, there will no doubt be big changes on the economic landscape, including the world of financing college. Will there be changes to the federal Pell Grants program, for instance? Time will tell.
Of course, it is not only financial aid issues that are getting students out to vote this year in record numbers. More new college students registered to vote for the first time this year than the total number of college voters in all of the 2004 election combined. What has been motivating students to get involved like never before? Is it the candidates or the issues?
Even though students have registered to vote (and according to news reports, have turned out to vote) in record numbers, they still face unique challenges that older voters do not have to deal with. Some of these challenges include intimidation tactics – like incorrectly telling students that registering to vote in the district you attend college will invalidate your parents’ ability to claim you on their tax return. Not true.
Then there was the hacking of the George Mason University Provost’s e-mail to distribute a letter to all undergrads that voting would actually commence on November 5 (tomorrow). Again, Not true!
Despite the pitfalls, though, students are making their voices heard loud and clear this election day. And if youth activists have anything to say about, their voices will continue to be heard long after the next President is sworn in.
That’s my take on college students rocking the vote this Election Day. If you have a few more minutes to spare before the election returns start rolling in, check out some of these articles from around the web:
- Student Voting Problems @ MSNBC.com
- McCain and the Youngest Voters @ The Wall Street Journal blog
- Campus Stories from CT, OH, FL, and more @ FutureMajority.com