Typically at this time of year, North Campus is full of students volunteering their time to help their peers prepare for the upcoming election. With stations designed for students to register to vote and check their voter status, organizations on campus were able to promote hands-on civic engagement within the UNC community.
Now, with many students sent home and no longer connected to these resources, they have limited access and few incentives to seek out voting information and tools. Between the chaos of the interrupted semester, campus closing, a pandemic and Zoom burnout, voting is probably the last thing on many students' minds. Here’s why it shouldn’t be.
For starters, North Carolina is a swing state, meaning a very small number of votes separates the two main candidates during most election cycles. Your vote can help push the state toward your candidate of choice. In 2016, less than 4 percent of the votes stood between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Secondly, your vote matters more than you think. Even if you feel let down or disappointed by politics, voting is the most direct and effective way to have a say in what goes on in our government, especially as young people.
In 2016, around 60 percent of Americans voted, with people over 65 seeing the biggest increase in voter turnout. Young voters make up around half of the voting population, yet are historically less likely to vote. Many college students are first time voters, and for most, it is their first time voting in a presidential election.