by Raneen El-Barbarawi / Staff Reporter
As election day slowly creeps closer and closer, students at Roosevelt University shared their thoughts about the importance of voting.
Khaliya Jackson, a junior double majoring in sociology and political science with a minor in social justice studies, said, “I think that voting is important because it is a right that has been promised to us. A right that people have fought for and were murdered over. But we can’t glamorize the suffering to voter rights. Voter suppression is an active and pervasive struggle that we have still yet to rid ourselves of.”
“I think that voting is such an important conversation; but the conversation on why this is election season, seems so dire to some and just a regular day to others- which is also an important conversation to have,” said Jackson, adding that she is voting because it seems like the most “tangible action” that she can currently take.
“Voting is important because young people can have such a large say in what happens in elections, yet so many young people don’t vote. Therefore, I find that it’s very important that I make sure to vote when I can,” said Grace Koeppen, a junior integrated marketing communications major. She said that she voted because she wanted to have a voice in who runs the country.
Election day is scheduled for Nov. 3 of this year, in which President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will be elected.
Sophia Gallo, a junior sociology major, said, “I think voting is important because it’s one of the small things we can do along with other actions like educating ourselves and others, donating to mutual funds, calling our representatives, and attending protests to make this country more fair for people,” adding that she voted early because she wanted to make sure that her vote was counted for in the election.
Sariah Bolden, a junior history and political science major, said, “Voting is important because it decides who are our elected officials from the federal level, to state, and local. All elections are important, but this year is especially important with the presidential election since we have a fascist in office and we need to vote him out.”
Two presidential debates have occurred between both candidates as well as one vice presidential debate between Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, and Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence. In these debates, candidates discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, race and economic issues, as well as climate change and other important topics.
In fact, some students offered their inputs on the debates.
“One word, ‘Yeesh.’ It all felt theatrical, and I understand that part of politics is a little show and dance, but this felt like I knew the end of the story before it began,” said Jackson.
“Both parties reaffirm the same points they have always been making. Trump’s debating style makes it hard to view anything. Biden isn’t any different than listening to a Zoom lecture. But what I did love about the debates, is that it’s getting people talking. I feel like it was some years ago where talking about politics as small talk was not something you did.”
“The debates gave me a headache. The second presidential debate went a lot better due to the fact that there was less interruption. The major headache was due to the fact that questions that the moderator asked weren’t being answered,” said Koeppen.
“I heard this last debate was more successful because mics were able to be muted so Trump and Biden couldn’t interrupt each other,” said Gallo.
“The presidential debates were hard to watch. Trump did historically terrible in the first debate and did a little better in the second debate they had together. But overall Biden won both debates,” said Bolden.
Moreover, students further spoke on their feelings about voting.
“I think we put a lot of emphasis on voting and while it is important to do it if you can, it’s certainly not the end all be all to making change. As long as voter suppression is rampant and many formerly incarcerated people can’t vote, our elections won’t be a truly representative and effective tool to dismantle inequality in this country,” said Gallo.
“If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have told you that voting was solely the way to go; it’s the answer to everything. The answer I would give you now is, it’s still an answer, but we should consider other options,” said Jackson.
“Voting suppression is rampant, it is not normal for us to wait 10 plus hours to exercise our voice. It is not normal for our mail system to be threatened during an election year where mail in ballots are pivotal.”
Students then spoke on their criticisms and dislikes about the voting system.
“There are a few things I don’t like about voting. The electoral college is useless, there is literal voter suppression and disenfranchisement, and voting doesn’t enact major change when at the end of the day, you’re still voting for a party that favors capitalism and still does harm to minority groups,” said Bolden.
“Although Illinois favors my views, in terms of the electoral college, it annoys me that voting may or may not have a huge impact depending on if you’re from a blue or red state. Voting is extremely important in swing states. That’s the only thing I don’t like about voting- that swing state voters are really the ones deciding the election, said Koeppen.
In fact, the electoral college was created as an alternative to elect the president by popular vote or Congress. Under the “Electoral College” system, each state is assigned a particular number of votes and there are a total of 538 electoral votes. The larger the state, the more votes it receives. In the United States, 270 out of the 538 electoral votes are required to win the presidential election.
Students said they encouraged others to vote if they are able to.
“Everyone should vote for the people who can’t,” said Koeppen.
“If you’re able to vote, you should definitely vote. Some people don’t have that privilege so use your privilege to help enact some kind of change,” Bolden added.