By Savannah Nolan– 1851 Contributor
Statistics have shown a lack of student voters in presidential elections across the country, including Lasell University students. With a presidential election coming up, “Lasell Votes” wants to ensure more Lasell students get involved and cast their vote during this election.
In a Tufts University study and data gathered by The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), in 1,023 higher education institutions across the United States, only 48.3 percent of college students voted in the 2016 presidential election. In 2012’s election, it was only 45.1 percent.
Based on information and data gathered by NSLVE campus voting data and Lasell Votes, in the 2016 presidential election, of the 72.9 percent of registered voters at Lasell, only 47.5 percent actually cast their vote.
Associate Director of the Center for Community Based Learning and co-leader Lasell Votes Byrd Hughes shared her thoughts on why college voting numbers are down in major presidential elections.
She says it’s due to a lack of confidence and voting knowledge.
“We’ve heard…a lot of students are stating they feel like they’re not knowledgeable enough and they just don’t know how to do it,” said Hughes. “I…encourage students to not feel like they need to have all the answers to just be courageous enough to take the first step. Once they take the first step, everything else will fall into place.”
Some college students don’t vote simply because they are not eligible. Class of 2023 and student ambassador of Lasell Votes Michael Woo explained some reasons for this are age and being an international student. “Students who are not eligible to vote can still engage in different ways, so they can help others register to vote and just be knowledgeable [about politics],” said Woo.
With the election only a couple of weeks away, Library Director and co-leader of Lasell Votes Anna Sarneso explains the future goals of the program. “[We want to] encourage more students to vote because what we’d like to do is to make voter education and voter engagement a constant on our campus,” she said. “We obviously are ramping up right now for the presidential election, but, we hope that…people are going to be thinking about voting and their elected officials…even when it’s not an election year. I think that makes you a more active and engaged voter.”
Lasell Votes aims to elevate and educate the number of student voters on campus. If students with questions or need help voting this upcoming election should utilize the program as a resource.
The deadline to register in Mass is October 24.