College students prepare to rock the vote



Alissa Ricci

You can’t help but be aware that the presidential election is rapidly approaching. The news media bombards us daily with new facts and figures on primary results, commentaries on the candidates and updates on the latest controversy or issue being disputed between the Democratic and Republican Parties. But what does it have to do with you?

As a young voter, you hold more power in your hands than you think. The first step to becoming politically aware is a personal declaration of your independence to vote and take responsibility for the future of this country.

The first step you need to take to participate in the voting process is simply registering to vote. If you are already registered in your home state, you will need to obtain an absentee ballet through your county office. If you don’t want to do that, you can register to vote in Delaware County, where most Villanova students reside during the school year, or in your home state at your county office.

The important thing to remember about voting registration is the sooner, the better. Most states accept new registration forms up until three to six weeks prior to an election, but it’s preferable to register sooner in order to secure your vote. Furthermore, some states offer online registration or printable registration forms on their Web sites in addition to traditional registration forms that are available at county offices.

Once you are registered, the research begins. As a generation that uses the Internet as its primary information source (as opposed to TV), the Web is a great place to research the happenings of the political world. Political science professor Matthew Kerbel recommends first going to the candidates’ Web sites to see how they present themselves and where they stand on issues.

Another good reference site is the League of Women Voters’ Web site (, which provides quick links to the candidates’ speeches and other resources to help you size up candidates.

While conducting research and evaluating information, sociology professor Rick Eckstein has a reminder for students.

“There is clear data that political awareness increases as education increases, working against this increased awareness is an increasingly centralized and corporatized media that is more interested in quickly consumable products (i.e., sound bites) rather than a meaningful, in-depth exploration of complex social issues,” he says.

So keep in mind that all information must be examined critically with an awareness of bias. After doing some independent research, you may want to engage in informal discussion about political issues with classmates or professors, as well as attending events to be announced by the College Democrats and College Republicans to stimulate conversation between students.

Many students and professors alike are already excited to watch what happens as state primaries continue through this spring and a new generation of young people prepare to vote for the first time. The millennial generation, or Generation Y, is described as “reaching maturity at a time of tremendous political engagement,” according to Professor Matthew Kerbel.