Election day is Nov. 2 and for weeks students and the American population have been seeing advertisements for propositions and candidates in every type of media.
Political science professor Tom Hogen-Esch said the most important thing is being aware.
According to the Census Bureau, citizens in the 18- to 24-year-old age range were the only group to increase their voting participation in the 2008 election.
The election in 2008 showed an unprecedented amount of turnout for the 18- to 24-year-old demographic, in many ways helping Obama to win the presidency, Hogen-Esch said.
Now, he adds, there has been a generation backlash where people want to change the change, meaning there is ultimately no change.
“Lesson is, you aren’t going to have fundamental change if you just vote in one election,” he said.
A voting bloc can be very powerful as shown with Obama, Hogen-Esch said.
“Students should vote to get their interest heard,” said Martin Saiz, political science department chair.
This election is probably more important to students than any other age group because of the risk for a shift in power, he said.
A lot of students tend to fall on the more liberal side of issues and tend to identify with more Democrats, Saiz said. If the power in the state and the country shifts to the Republicans, student issues may not be heard as much.
Both Saiz and Hogen-Esch agree that Proposition 25 would be the most important one to pay attention to. Proposition 25 would lower the threshold from two-thirds to a simple majority in order to pass a budget in California.
Right now there is a small majority that keeps the budget from being passed, Saiz said. There is talk about gridlock all the time but there are rules that make compromise difficult.
“Not only will there be a budget on time but a budget that they want,” Saiz said.
Some people think voting requires a lot of time because you should do the research to make an informed decision. What a lot of people do is vote based on the cues in the ballot, Saiz said.
For example, if someone tends to be more liberal, he or she would usually vote for the Democratic candidate.
“That’s a good predictor of how they are going to be when they get in office,” Saiz said.
Propositions are a little trickier since there aren’t those kinds of clues on the ballot. Saiz said most people just vote ‘no,’ because a ‘no’ vote keeps things the way they are.
When it comes to big issues, voting can be motivated by fear, Saiz said. That’s why there are a lot of exaggerations on TV.
Some students said they agree with Saiz and expressed that they want their opinions to matter, and that is why they are voting.
“I feel as young people, we’re kind of obligated to vote,” said senior David Adalat, English major. “These issues affect everyone, not just our parents and other generations. We need our voices heard, and voting is one of the easiest ways to achieve that.”
It’s important for students to know that one vote can matter.
“A lot of people think that one vote doesn’t make a difference, but if everyone voted instead of thinking like that, we could really change things,” said junior Amanda Alvarado, sociology major.
Others are voting because they know it will affect their future.
“I’m voting because it’s sad to be lumped into the very large statistic of college students who are ambivalent about choosing the people who will run our state and the propositions that we’ll end up having to pay for,” said senior Kawaianiani Malandish, English and deaf studies major.