A day after Republican Thom Tillis’ Nov. 4 victory over U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, Queens students reacted to the election.
Interviewing conducted on Wednesday morning suggested that while many students expressed concern about the election, not many students seemed to have voted. Many students who did not vote said that they were uneducated about the issues.
Junior Andi Fisher said that even though she was not registered to vote and that she did not follow the issues, this was the first time that her peers could have used their own voices. She said she believed there were too many polar extremes, with too few in the middle.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voter turnout in the 18-24 age group has declined since 1964.
“It is important to vote,” said Lizzie Sheppard, 21. “College students don’t understand that they sway the outcome. Politics include us and we need to know what’s affecting us.”
Sheppard declined to disclose who she voted for. “That is confidential,” she said.
“I am a very strong liberal,” said sophomore Ava Martin. “I really support what Kay Hagan stands for, and there were a lot of important things that were overlooked. I felt like it would be better for her to represent us.”
Jalen Jamison, a junior from Raleigh, N.C., disagreed. Although he declined to share who he voted for, he said he was a Republican. He named issues like “healthcare, government handouts and women’s rights” as the issues most important to him. He believes that having a Republican Senate will have a huge sway in the 2016 presidential election.
Some students who were already registered in their home states or cities chose to vote absentee. Many of these students said that they tried to stay informed and make their voices heard.
Absentee voting is done by filling out a mail-in ballot before the day of an election. Anyone who is registered to vote can request to receive an absentee ballot. A person may vote absentee if they will be absent from their state, city or town on Election Day. They may also vote by absentee ballot if they have a physical disability that prevents them from voting at a set polling place. Each state has different policies regulating absentee voting. Voters may return the ballot in person or by mail.
According to the Queens admissions website, 45 percent of undergraduate students are from out of state, giving them reasonable cause to request to vote absentee.
The Center for Active Citizenship (CAC) worked with members of the political science department to run a contest for groups around campus. According to Pat Taft, CAC director, these groups would upload photos of their members voting to Instagram. The winner will receive $250.