In the last eight years, less than 30% of young, eligible voters, voted during elections. With 2016 becoming an important election year cycle, the Day of Politics aims to change that by getting more students involved in the political process.
The annual Day of Politics is on Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the Great Hall. It encourages young adults to be more involved in the political process by focusing on issues and local propositions that affect their futures.
“A lot of our students are apathetic because they don’t really feel like they’re connected to government, they don’t feel like it represents them,” said Denise Robb, professor of political science and one of the organizers of Day of Politics. “There’s no better proof for how important government is than the propositions because there are seventeen of them.”
One of the propositions on the ballot that affects students is Proposition 55. This would extend the personal income tax on taxpayers with incomes of $250,000 or more for an additional 12 years, to fund education and healthcare, according to an LA Times article.
“Prop 55 is going to be an interesting one,” said Lynette Quintero, president of the PoliSci Society at Pierce. “Everyone at school is there for education so hearing the opposing side will definitely be interesting.”
Day of Politics is sponsored by the PoliSci Society, the ASO, the Campus Vote Project, Alpha Gamma Sigma and the Vegan Society.
“We partnered up with Denise Robb and our role is to support the students that are going to be involved in the debates and discussions between the senators during the Q&A session,” Quintero said. “We want to incorporate all forms of politics and involve all the ballot initiatives during the November election.”
Another proposition that will affect students is Prop 51, which allows the state to issue $9 billion in bonds to fund K-12 schools and community colleges, according to Yeson51.com, a website that supports the initiative.
Though these two propositions will be in dispute at the Day of Politics, other issues will be debated on during the event that will benefit students’ interest, such as reducing sentences for nonviolent criminals, ending the death penalty and the legalization of marijuana.
“A lot of times, people tend to vote for the presidency and overlook the rest of it because it’s hard to find unbiased information,” Quintero said. “By doing this, we hear both sides and provide unbiased information so students can use it as references to do more research.”
Between 2008 and 2012, 38 percent of voters ages between 18 and 24, while almost 70 percent of voters are between the ages 65 and older, according to a study by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Though the study does not indicate the reason why voter turnout for young adults is low compared to older adults, disenchantment with the voting process could be a cause, a sentiment shared by 20-year-old Pierce College student, Jake Anthony.
“Look at what happened to Bernie Sanders,” Anthony said. “He had the support of so many people, but it got him nowhere.”
November may come to be a pivotal day in history, with the future of young generation in stake, the Day of Politics seeks to engage students who share the same view as Anthony.
“As students, we’re learning about everything,” Quintero said. “We’re the ones that are going to be living longer so we have the power right now to vote and make a difference.”
Robb shared a similar sentiment with Quintero regarding voter apathy.
“If they don’t get engaged with politics and they don’t vote, then they are essentially invisible,” Robb said. “If you’re wondering why college tuition is high, you don’t have to look any further than the fact that voter turnout is abysmal for young people.”