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I am a College Student and I Struggled with Voter Engagement

Even College Students Suffer With Voter Engagement One Georgia Student Discusses How Engaging Voters On Campus Can Be Difficult

Guest post by Georgia State Student Shaidah 

Starting college I was extremely enthusiastic about voting. I turned 18 right on time for the next presidential election. I found myself campaigning for Bernie Sanders during the primaries because that was the candidate I resonated with the most.

The pre-2016 presidential primary was an exciting time. Everyone in the dorms had their stickers up and we had debate watch parties. When Bernie lost the primaries the fired up spirit was lost. Many of my friends and fellow students would say “see I told you voting doesn’t matter. They do what they want anyway.” And the sad part about it was they were right.

As much as I wanted everyone to be and stay engaged, I couldn’t make them or blame them.
From that experience, I learned politics was one big fiasco. All this talk about Donald Trump’s tweets, Russia, and Hillary Clinton is pointless. It’s all a deflection from the fact that America has deep rooted issues and no one wants to be accountable. I don’t even understand why most of America has not just blocked Donald Trump on Twitter.

Now that the 2017 state and municipal elections are here, the disengagement from my peers is TOO real. The semester has come and gone and I barely heard a peep from anyone about the Atlanta elections. I would drop links to the different campus groups so people could be aware of when, where, and how to vote but no one seemed to care. A few people had events to talk about candidates but there weren’t many.

As many colleges are in the area, one would think the college student vote would be something worth investing in. Candidates rarely talk about issues as they affect our population. There’s focus on families with children and the elderly but there isn’t much attention for us in the middle.

Thinking about the recent mayoral election, I didn’t feel like the candidates took the time to care about college students. Candidates used cute phrasing to sound like they cared about issues such as affordable housing. But really they fell flat.

Affordable housing is something many people talk about but rarely deliver. I have never come across it. Housing is an issue for students yet few people take the time to understand.

Our concerns are not felt and voices are unheard unless we speak up. When we do, we are met with remarks like “what do you know you’re just a baby.” Well, what I do know is there is a large eligible voter population that is untapped and it must change.

There is a generation of voters coming of age ahead of 2020. Just saying young people need to be involved in politics is not enough.

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