First-time voting jitters?

Hannah Collings – Staff Writer

CLARION, Pa.- Whether in Marwick-Boyd Fine Arts Center or by absentee ballot, many Clarion University students will, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, cast their vote for the next President of the United States. For many of these students, this will be the first presidential election in which they are eligible to vote. While there is a large number of students who feel very passionately about the candidate for whom they are voting, others seem to view their inevitable choice as the least harmful option.

“I would like my first election not to be such a disappointment,” said Samuel Richardson.  When asked to share her feelings on this election, Zoe Berkheimer asked, “Can it be over?”  She added, “I don’t like the fact that I don’t like either of the candidates.”  Torron Mollett wondered, “Can’t we just give Obama a third term?”

Students admitted to feeling “very” concerned about the outcome of this election if the candidate they vote for loses the race. Only one student expressed certainty in the election’s outcome. President of Clarion Young Democrats Seth Ickes stated, “No, I’m not nervous; I’m confident that Donald Trump has no chance of winning.”

Whitney Jefferson said that voting for the president in 2016 is about “keeping America moving forward instead of moving backward.” She feels that with Clinton as president, minority rights will be better preserved.

Zhané Steele questioned to what period of history Trump supporters of the “Make America Great Again” campaign refers. “America was not equal, so what do you mean?”

Some students focus on the future president’s experience in political affairs and foreign policy as important issues. For Christian Myers, a determiner for whom he is voting is not “whoever holds the most political power.” He is wary of Clinton who he believes holds great political sway. “From a presidential position, I’d say it’s a bad thing.”

Brana Hill addressed the apathy she believes is present in many eligible voters, “If American people had more understanding of their rights and the people who have fought for them, they would recognize their voice and their power to vote.”

Jefferson’s position agreed with Hill, “I am an African American woman, so now that I’m able to [vote], I’m very fortunate, very blessed.”

Politically active students tend to feel very passionately about the candidate or political party they support. Many look down on those of the opposite position or believe their view inferior.

Samuel Richardson said that political debates in which he engages end in either an “agree to disagree” situation or a “screaming match.” Ashley Gruber suggested this lack of understanding is representative of the two parties: “They tear one another apart. They don’t work together.”

This presidential campaign has been divisive and a source of conflict between students, peers, relatives and immediate family members. Some ridicule passionate supporters on both sides for their beliefs.

Nov. 8 will be a historic day. They will participate for the first time in the process for choosing the next President of the United States. Though this is a rite of passage for citizens, many students would prefer that it was not occurring and look toward the date with apprehension.

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