Presidential elections every four years gain a lot of attention. However, “off-year” elections, like the one on Nov. 2nd, gained traction among Villanovans as well. An off-year election is a general election that occurs on odd-numbered years, whereas Federal elections take place on even-numbered years.
On Tuesday, Americans went to polls or mailed in their ballots to vote for governors and legislators in New Jersey and Virginia, mayors in more than 250 cities and numerous local officials. Additionally, voters in several states had the opportunity to contribute to policies by answering ballot questions regarding taxes, the way judges are elected and several other statewide matters.
University students that are not from Pennsylvania typically request absentee ballots from their home states, register themselves in Pennsylvania or take the opportunity to mail in their ballots over Fall Break. Several students expressed the importance to them of voting during off-year elections. Emily Pintarelli, Joey Socci, Maddy Hagan and Gwynn Mak each had unique perspectives on their voting and were asked about their experiences.
Pintarelli and Socci each filled out their ballots at home in New Jersey and mailed them over fall break. Socci noted that he participated this year because “it’s important to vote for people who have a greater impact on their local community.”
“I’m from California but switched my voter registration to Pennsylvania before the presidential election last year,” Hagan said. “I’m supposed to get the mail-in ballots every year, but I didn’t change my address this year from my old dorm, so I went to vote in person this year at the Rosemont Apartments.”
Not all students felt inclined to vote in the off-year election.
“If it’s not for the president, I usually don’t think about voting because it isn’t publicized as much,” Mak said.
Many other students have expressed that in college, it is difficult to keep up with political campaigns at home, or they don’t feel an attachment to Pennsylvania’s politics. They feel this led to their choice to not vote this year.
“I think it’s really important to vote in off years even if what’s on the ballot may not seem important or have a direct impact on us,” Hagan said. “We have a right and civic duty to vote, so when people don’t exercise that right they are choosing not to participate in our democracy. So many people in the world don’t have the right to vote in any elections, so, as someone that does have that right, I plan to take advantage of it.”
“I voted to carry out my civic duty,” she said. “Even though it’s easy to assume that your one vote doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, not voting is essentially giving up your voice. I believe it is more important to learn about different candidates and determine what issues are important to me. I use this information and my voice to enact change by making a decision that positively affects my life and the lives of those around me.”
“Voting allows us to create change with what we think is wrong in the country. College students need to take advantage of their ability to vote in order to ensure that the politicians in power actually care about issues that affect them and will create progress for these issues after the election.”
The students monitored their respective election results and look forward to voting again in next year’s elections.