For the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with reasons why I need to vote from professors, Next Gen volunteers and friends. While I think people should have a voice and vote for what they want, each time someone asked, “Are you voting?” I knew I could either tell them I’m not and get an earful of reasons why my decision is “incorrect” or I could lie to save time. Incase anyone is still wondering — no, I did not vote.
Why did I not vote? Simple. I didn’t have the time to research the candidates, I know almost nothing about politics (making research disencouraging), I feel politicians are all corrupt and the system is too stressful and I refuse to vote for someone just because my friend told me to.
Growing up, my family never spoke of politics. We didn’t watch it on television, newspapers were used for art projects and pumpkin carving and it was much easier to say I was in the Independent party so I didn’t have to choose side. This left me far behind other students as I didn’t understand what Far Left and Far Right values were and who was which. My mother says my sister and I were raised democratic, while my father said “we” are republican. By the time I was a senior in highschool, I saw the terrifying effects of the election process for the presidency and was thankful I missed the voting age by two weeks.
When I tell people this, many say I can start learning and vote … but that was maybe a day before the election. I felt incredibly pressured by those around me to vote for who they wanted me to. Whether it was the professor who avidly dislikes Trump, Next Gen’s very democratic-heavy flyers only showcasing the positives of one candidate and not the other, or my friends who think that I will partake in a vote that I have no background research in.
I did not favor the constant interruptions throughout my already-hectic, college day to be given the same papers and the same mini speeches while doing assignments, running from one meeting to the next or trying to sit down and enjoy food at the Dining Commons. While the people who often did this are probably extremely kind people, I often heard students complaining about hearing about voting all day long. My Area Coordinator sent a mass email to residents stating, “There have been individuals and groups soliciting within the halls, specifically to vote and in favor of political candidates,” as well as how they were not permitted within the halls and are not affiliated with the school. These extreme tactics to get students to vote actually pushed me from wanting to learn more about voting, this is commonly known as a boomerang effect. I also felt like I didn’t have access to a non-bias source at the time I began to consider voting.
One thing I will say is that I believe it is wrong to shame people for not voting. I am not the only student who feels this way. Science News’ article ‘Why people don’t vote and what to do about it’ says, “People who received the most shame-heavy mailings also tended to call the number on the mailings — and demand to be left alone.” People may encourage or help explain the process to their friends or family, but pressuring or shaming them can lead one to regret their decisions or feel like they are lower than others. Instead of shoving it down someone’s throat, politic-loving students should encourage their friends and offer educational advice. Remember that not everyone is comfortable with voting or may have their own personal reasons for not wanting to. Ask them why and don’t counter their opinions with “So you’re just going to waste it?” or “It’s your basic right, if you don’t vote then you’re not supporting America.”
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at