The election season is winding down with less than three weeks until residents cast their vote for candidates in many different races. Over the past week, multiple politically related events took place at Oakland University with the intention of promoting awareness among students living on and off campus.
Last Friday, the OU Office of Government Relations sponsored the event titled Issues, Campaigns and Election 2010 — an informational forum featuring topics on preparing to vote, the state budget crisis, higher education and the status of current campaigning.
Bill Ballenger, Inside Michigan Politics Editor, spoke at one of the forums in the Oakland Center.
“Everybody knows that, unfortunately, our young voter cohort is the weakest turnout segment of the electorate in every election,” Ballenger said. “The young voters gave Obama a huge amount of support disproportionate to other groups. This year you’re not going to have that…not only are all groups going to be down in voting participation, young groups are going to be down and they will be down in areas that will be the most helpful to the Democratic Party.”
In 2008, around 24 million people ages 18-29 voted on Election Day, or 54 percent of the United States population with regard to demographics.
However, voter turnout was significantly higher in 2008, and local elections historically have not turned out the number of voters that a presidential election attracts.
Gina Winsky, a senior majoring in philosophy and psychology, said she has a duty to vote.
“Voting is an ethical responsibility we have,” Winsky said. “Not voting is a way of choosing not be involved…and it’s just laziness.”
Ken Rosen, a candidate for the state house representative District 26 seat, said it is essential that young people vote.
“We have an incredible opportunity to reshape our government,” Rosen said. “I am committed to this country’s democracy and committed to the value of voting. It is one of the most important rights that we have as country and we need to get more than 40 percent of the people out voting on a regular basis.”
John Paradowski, a sophomore majoring in history, said that younger voters have a say in the upcoming election.
“I don’t understand why people don’t vote,” Paradowski said. “It honestly does not make any sense to me.”
Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Absentee ballots can be obtained from the city offices of any registered voter.