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Students complacent on political participation

By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer

The smell of democracy was strong in the air as the midterm elections were about to come to an end on Tueday, Nov. 4.

The campus was filled with political campaigners and student organizations reminding campus wanderers that there was one more thing they had to do that day: vote.

The election has been apparent since last spring. In the last few weeks, though, the intensity to which students and the other residents of the Granite State have been bombarded with political ads on TV featuring attack ads against republicans or democrats has risen in the last few weeks.

But with all this attention, what kind of impact is there on student voter turnout?

During the primary for this particular election, turnout was low even for an election that traditionally has lower numbers.

“On the day of the primary, Sept. 9, 2014, there were 862,471 registered voters in New Hampshire,” said Bill Gardner, the New Hampshire Secretary of State on his voter turnout summary on the department’s website. “Of that number, 165,459 voters cast ballots reflecting a turnout of 19.18 percent of all registered voters.”

Though these numbers do not apply directly to students at the university, nor do they reflect the turnout of Tuesday’s election, they did cause a concern about whether Tuesday’s election, they did cause a concern about whether or not people would actually get out and vote when the time came.

When asked about whether or not they voted, the responses from various members of the student body did not seem to swing the verdict in either direction.

For some, the answer was a resounding yes.

“I  had to wait an hour to vote,” said Casie Price, a junior earth science and oceanography major who was helping out Student Environmental Action Coalitions (SEAC) promotional booth in front of the Hood House.

Currently a Newmarket resident, Price said that she is not originally from the area but has voted every year since she’s been eligible.

“Even on a small scale, your voice matters,” she said.

Pia Marciano, a sophomore environmental  engineering major, who voted last week by sending in an absentee ballot echoed this view.

“We’re the young generation,” Marciano said. “It’s important for us to think about our future and be active.”

However, there were a number of students who did not get the chance to vote for a variety of reasons.

Jane Garofalo, a sophomore health management and policy major, lives in Massachusetts, but has not voted in any elections yet.

“I’m just not really into politics, so that’s probably why I haven’t,” she said.

Adam Levine, a junior psychology major, did not vote in Tuesday’s election either.

“I felt it would be irresponsible to vote in an election that I didn’t know anything about,” Levine said.

“That being said, I think it’s irresponsible for me not to vote in the future.”

Sophomores Nathan Bujwid, a civil engineering major and Max Bruno, an occupational therapy major, both said that they were too busy with classes and homework to make it to the polls, though they hope to in the future.

“It’s one of our rights to voice our opinion, one of our civil duties,” Bujwid said.

But for others, it just wasn’t the right time. Allison Grant, a freshman occupational therapy major, is still 17-years-old and thus not eligible to vote as of yet but looks forward to the privilege in the future.

“People who are elected have a lot of power in what goes on,” she said.

“It’s important that they help with the issues that are important to us.”

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