A considerable amount of Loyola students are not planning to vote Nov. 6, according to a Phoenix poll conducted Sept. 7 to Sept. 9.
Eighteen percent of the 119 Loyola students randomly polled in CFSU and the IC said they had no plan to vote in the presidential election. This figure is not reflective of a recent Hiram College national poll, whose findings said five percent of college-age students were not planning to vote.
“I think it’s pretty easy not to vote at this age,” said Chris Schular, president of the College Republicans National Committee chapter at Loyola. “I think that being a college student you’re in classes, you’re away from home. Applying for an absentee ballot is on the last of people’s minds as a college student.”
Schular, 21, who was elected president at the end of the spring semester, said the widening gap between the Democratic and Republican parties might also be responsible for driving away voters.
“If you look at most people’s beliefs at the end of the day, I think people have similar outlooks and goals for the United States,” said Schular, a political science and French literature major. “I think that what turns people off is this extreme left or this extreme right … It’s a turn off to me.”
Peter D’Aunno, 21, the president of the College Democrats chapter at Loyola, agrees.
“There’s been so much polarization in politics in the last four years,” said D’Aunno, a senior pyschology major. “Even for someone who is as politically engaged as I am, I have been a little withdrawn from it.”
Derek Gacke, 21, a math and philosophy major, used to lean “slightly democrat,” but says he is now completely tuned out of politics.
“You hear a lot of things they will promise on the campaign trail, like Guantanamo Bay,” Gacke said, referring to Obama’s campaign promise to remove suspected terrorist detainees from the military base on Cuba. “For the most part, I feel like they don’t stick to their goals.”
Gacke did not suggest anything that would change his mind and convince him to vote.
“It’s just my personal dissatisfaction,” Gacke said. “I’ve been burnt out on politics for a long time now.”
Peter Walker, 19, a sophomore in the Quinlan School of Business, said he was leaning toward Obama in 2008 but wasn’t old enough to vote. Now, he says he doesn’t relate to either candidate.
“It’s basically one [candidate] or the other, and if you don’t like either there’s no point, in my opinion,” Walker said.
Walker said he doesn’t follow mainstream news very much, but instead prefers websites like Reddit, a site on which users post news stories, photos, videos and other content.
Despite voter apathy, other students are trying to convince peers who have turned away from politics to get involved.
Anthony Betori, 21, a senior English major, has posted information on his Facebook account to educate voters on the process of filling out absentee ballots. He has helped one person fill out an absentee ballot so far.
Betori, who will vote for Obama in Ohio through an absentee ballot, attributes voter apathy to the high expectations voters have in politicians.
“I think the tendency is to blame politicians for this type of voter apathy when really we’re the ones that are apathetic,” Betori said. “It’s clear in the term we use — voter apathy. But we will always tend to blame it on who is running for office.”
by Tyler Langan