Conway officials and citizens recently gave their opinions as to why voter turnouts for college students are consistently low.
Faulkner County Clerk, Margaret Darter, attributed the lack of turnout to students awareness of politics. “I think it’s mostly they’re just not aware,”she said. “Their focus is on their education, not necessarily what’s going on around them.”
Darter believes most students are so wrapped up in their studies and on-campus activities that they don’t have time to pay attention to what is happening in the political world.
“I just remember at that age I wasn’t interested in the news,” she said.
Haley Coster, Co-President of UCA Young Democrats, had a different view.
“I think that college students skip out for a number of reasons, the main one being the idea that our vote doesn’t count,” she said. “We are one of the worst states in the nation for low youth turnout on election days. I hope that our state improves in this area in the upcoming presidential election, and I believe we will see a better voter participation.” Coster said there is not “one size fits all” solution. “I believe if people could see just how close some elections in the past have been, they’d feel more motivated to take this civic duty seriously,” she said.
Darter said she feels going to the county clerk’s office is the easiest way to register to vote.
“You’re not registered to vote until it’s presented to the county clerk. If you vote with the Secretary of State’s office, it has to be mailed to us. So the most efficient and best way to register is to come to us. We can make sure your voter registration card is filled out correctly, and we can let you know it person if you are missing anything,” she said.
For people who are already registered to vote in another county, the process of transferring to Faulkner County is simple. “They can kind of do the same thing as someone who is registering to vote,” she said. “They can come here and fill out a change of address form.”
A person can tell the county clerk where they were previously registered to vote, then “It’s a matter of clicking buttons for us,” she said.
Darter stressed the importance of voting as a young person in the United States.
“We have the privilege to vote. If we don’t exercise that right to vote, then that vote may one day be taken away from us,” she said.
Teresa Horton, the election coordinator, talked about the importance of women voting.
image via theodysseyonline.com