The 2020 presidential election will be the first presidential election that some students at Sacred Heart are eligible to vote. The question is, are they voting?
“This will be my first time voting in a presidential election. During the 2016 election, I was a few months shy of being 18, so I was not able to vote,” said senior Kolby Driscoll.
Many students are in a similar situation and are eager to vote this year.
“I am absolutely and confidently voting in this year’s election,” said senior Tyler McGann.
McGann is on the executive board of Sacred Heart’s club PioneerVote as the Retention Chair.
Sacred Heart’s website features a page dedicated to the organization and states what the club is: “PioneerVote is a student-led campaign to help raise awareness of political issues occurring at the local, state and federal level.”
“We host weekly meetings where we hold open discussions and talk about upcoming opportunities for the club like spreading awareness for voting and educational awareness for the upcoming election,” said senior Alesandra Leone.
Leone is also on the executive board of PioneerVote as Vice President.
“Politics can be very intimidating, especially with an election like we have coming up. My advice would be to read up on the policies and reforms the candidates are proposing, realizing that voting is going to impact you,” said Leone.
One obstacle some students face is being registered to vote in a state that they are not currently living in. Though absentee ballots are available to out-of-state students, some have struggled with the process.
“I had planned on voting via absentee ballot. I requested my absentee ballot upon arriving on campus in late August. I still have not received this, so when I went home this weekend, I took the opportunity to vote early in person,” said freshman Toni Young.
Issues with absentee ballots are not the only roadblock some students have faced when it comes to voting.
“New Hampshire is one of the only states that doesn’t allow you to register online, and due to COVID and my availability, I was unable to get to the town hall to register to vote,” said junior Halle Boucher.
Though some students are in a similar position as Boucher, some student leaders are seeing a growth in engagement.
“I feel students are more engaged than ever in politics, as it is crucial to be,” said McGann.
“I feel as though a majority of our students are engaged. We are fortunate here at SHU to have active political clubs so students have an outlet to gain information and engage in elections and politics more,” said Driscoll.
Some students have a preference as to where they get their information.
“Typically, what I do to keep updated with the news is to keep tuned in to social media to see what is going on in politics, and then do later research. I also listen to the Ben Shapiro Show on a semi-regular basis,” said junior Matteo Menta.
“A lot of the information I get comes from social media and articles online. My personal favorite on Instagram is @soyouwanttotalkabout,” said Young.
Senior Tyler Hienz is a member of Sacred Heart’s club Turning Point USA. This is also his first year eligible to vote in a presidential election.
According to Sacred Heart’s website, Turning Point USA is a non-profit organization with a mission to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government. The club works closely with other political organizations on campus to promote political participation at all levels.
“Get out and vote,” said Hienz. “It is said all the time but your vote really does matter.”