Wait, what midterm elections?

Voter apathy among W&L students could be remedied by the administration


Teddy Corcoran

I didn’t vote last week. I probably should have.

That’s right, this past week I found myself particularly “apathetic” when it came to the matter of getting out to the polls, along with a whole lot of other college students, apparently.

I know that I should have voted, I know that I would have felt great if I had voted, I know that I would have been exercising my constitutional right, and that I would have been contributing to our democratic system… yet I shrugged it all off and stayed home.

Indeed, unless compelled by someone or something else, I always seem to justify inactivity. “I have too much work” seems to be my favorite excuse, quickly followed by “I’m too tired after all that work I just did.” Excuse number one was employed on election-day.

So what would have gotten me out to vote? What would have compelled me to participate?

For one, knowledge of what was on the ballot. It’s hard to be motivated to go vote when you don’t know the issues. I could have looked them up on my iPhone, but I had “too much work” to do.

An outside force compelling me to go vote probably also would have worked. Had a friend said, “Hey let’s go to the polls” or even “You’ve got to go vote,” I probably would have done so. But alas, they had either mail-in votes or “had too much work” to do as well.

A really quick reminder about the importance of voting and the principles that it is based upon might have also spurred me on, had someone else stated them. But nobody did.

So, with none of these extra motivators to get me to go vote, I didn’t. But I now wish I had.

And I, being the strong-willed independent student that I am, am going to take little responsibility and suggest the administration could have gotten me (and several others) to vote with a simple email on or before election day. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that the administration ought to send such an email every two years. It certainly isn’t their duty to do so, but I don’t think it would do any harm.

The email would not need to contain much. A brief reminder of date of the election, the location of the polls, the hours that the polls would be open, and the content of the Virginia ballot. The email could even include a one or two sentence reminder on the importance of voting, though this may be too much administrative indoctrinating for your liking, so I would leave that as optional.

Such an email would take less than ten minutes to create and would help give the lazy Virginia registered voters such as myself the extra little motivation we need. The result: greater student turnout, reduced apathy, and more of those “I voted” stickers around campus. It is hard to argue against that.