UVa Students Flocked to Polls, Millennial Turnout Remains Low

Last Tuesday’s Gubernatorial Election, which ended in a victory for Democratic candidate Ralph Northam, had students flocking to the polls. Despite the cold and rain, several still stood outside of dining halls and polling stations, holding up posters and handing out Krispy Kreme donuts to those who voted.

“I voted because I felt like it was my duty to make sure my voice got heard,” said first year Cora Wack.  “Our laws reflect our way of life, and we need elected officials who will make the right decisions for us.”

First year Naomi Element added that “voting is…essential for making sure that your beliefs and values are reflected in the people that are representing you.”

To encourage hesitant first years and car-less students to cast their ballots, UVa provided SafeRide vans to and from polling locations all day. 

A poster on a telephone pole near Jefferson Park Avenue advocates the Democratic candidate, Ralph Northam

“We encourage all students to go out and vote! Engaging civically within your community is one of the biggest ways you can make a difference,” read an e-mail sent out by the UVa Learning in Action organization.

Despite the seemingly massive political engagement of UVa students on Election Day, Millennials continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any generation.

The consensus among students as to why turnout remains so slow boils down to the fact that many simply believe that others will vote so that they do not have to.

“I do think we feel like everyone else will do it,” said second year Savhanna Long. “Plus, I think a lot of [Millennials] are disillusioned with our governmental system and find most politicians to be the same.”

“We have the lowest voter turnout because we are unaware of the enormity of the impact we have the potential to make,” added Wack. “We think that our vote, one among millions, is meaningless.  We think we can’t make a difference.”

We can indeed.


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