Students Speak: Thoughts on voting

Photo by Jon Drews

The US midterm elections of 2014 took place on November 4. All 435 House seats and 36 Senate seats were up for grabs. Additionally, many gubernatorial and state and local races took place. Over $3.7 billion was spent on this election, the most of any midterm in history.

A great deal of importance was placed on this election, with commercials and celebrities promoting voting. On a more local scale, all who walked through Tech Walkway the weeks before were accosted by people asking if they were registered to vote.

Despite their efforts and efforts nationwide, voter turnout was 36.4% overall, the lowest in over 70 years and down 4.5% from  2010. Where did Tech students fall, statistically speaking, in this calculated distribution?

“I did vote because it is my duty as an American citizen,” declares third-year ChemE Krishan Patel. “Although, I disliked the mudslinging advertisements that every candidate had. They were annoying to see every day and detract from where the focus should be.”

“I did not vote in this election because I don’t believe it was important,” says third-year IE Lalit Devraj. “Not as important as the presidential elections, anyway.”

The Piedmont Room in the Student Center housed a ballot box for Fulton County residents, including those not affiliated with Tech. In the past there were complaints from these residents about the cost of parking and the box’s location to those unfamiliar with Tech’s campus. For Tech students from the area, though, this location was far more convenient than driving home for the day.

“I wasn’t registered to vote, plus I was busy with school and would have been an uninformed voter,” says fourth-year ISyE Parsa Naraghi.

“I didn’t register because I didn’t know when the election was,” says second-year ME Mohamud Gedi. “By the time I found out about two weeks before the voting, it was too late to sign up.”

The deadline to register to vote varies by state but is usually early to mid October.

“I didn’t vote because I was not informed and not already registered,” states second-year BMED Nima Mikail.

“I’m out of state, and I didn’t want to go through the trouble of getting an absentee ballot,” says fourth-year ChemE major James DiLorenzo. “I wasn’t interested: this election didn’t have much impact on me as an individual.”

Others who voted claimed “civic duty” in one way or another as their reason for voting. Those who did not cited “not receiv[ing] an absentee ballot” to “not car[ing] enough to register” to “it’s complicated.”

There was a clear disinterest in this midterm election, but the numbers should rise for the presidential election in two years. By then, there will be a new set of freshmen and sophomores to goad into registering and voting.