BY DONNA CHASON
By the time Election Day comes around in November, many people are so sick of hearing about politics that they don’t bother getting out to vote.
During the run up to Election Day, citizens are bombarded with phone calls, signs, mail and volunteers knocking on their door. Many of them express their disinterest to the campaigns contacting them. Those who do not express disinterest are likely to be contacted many more times before the election. People grow tired of it.
Even though this year’s election is one of the most important in recent history, people are reluctant to vote because of the candidate options. But it is always important to get involved and to show your support to whichever candidate you choose.
Jeffrey Willey, a sophomore studying History at the University of Maine at Farmington, is interested in political science. Willey thinks that many people need to be more involved.
“[Voting is] really the most effective way to express discontent or appreciation for those in office,” said Willey.
Rob Glover, a political science professor at the University of Maine, also expressed the importance of voting.
“We can actually impact the process and shape the direction of our political system,” said Glover.
Even though many voters understand that people’s engagement can have an impact, many feel that their individual votes do not matter. This particular election, voters are sitting out because they don’t like the choices for president. Glover talks about how state and local candidates and ballot initiatives have an impact.
“These are things that have a tangible impact on people’s lives,” said Glover.
Glover went on to talk about how people feel that they have no good options in this election, specifically on the presidential level, should not be discouraged from voting. Rather, according to Glover, this should encourage people to become further involved in the process of selecting candidates. He likes to challenge the notion that involvement doesn’t matter.
“What are you doing to change those processes?” asked Glover.
Wiley expressed a similar view.
“I know that a lot of people, including millennials, choose not to vote because they believe that the system is rigged by money, corrupt politicians, etc,” said Willey. “[Voting] is the most effective way to make change because it directly influences who will be making policy.”
There are voters who are unhappy about their choices for president, but they are still going out and voting. Glover termed this “voting defensively.” These individuals are not voting because they love one candidate, but because they truly dislike the other. This can be found on both sides of party lines.
There are many millennials who believe that elections are rigged and that their vote does not count. This opinion can be countered by the fact that there have been active attempts at voter suppression on college campuses.
Fliers discouraging students from registering to vote on campus by telling blatant untruths about registration requirements and fees, as reported on WCSH6. Glover addressed this as an attempt to mislead students and stop them from voting because their vote is important.
“Anytime there is a concerted effort to suppress something, that means it is important,” said Glover.
Regardless of attempts to dissuade people from voting, there is likely to be a very high voter turnout this election because of the presidential race. According to Glover, there are many places where this could impact down ballot candidates or ballot initiatives.
Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, of which the University of Maine is a part, is a very important district in the national races this year. The high turnout by voters for both the presidential election and the congressional election are very likely to affect controversial ballot initiatives like questions one and three.