North Carolina State University’s Student Government Relations department hosted an event entitled “Evening with the Electorate” on September 26, 2017. The Raleigh Mayoral and City Council positions were up for grabs and Dalton Clark, Director of Government Relations, created an event to promote voter education and awareness of who the candidates were. This was a non-partisan event that educated students on the importance that their vote counts. We wanted students to know how important doing their civic duty is!
The seats that were up for grabs this year in Raleigh were the Mayoral seats and City Council seats. The breakdown of the City Council in Raleigh is that there are two at-large seats and then one seat for each district A-E. All seats including the at-large and district ones were up for reelection. There were many candidates this year and Raleigh puts together a voting guide that is very informative based on what the candidates submit.
The main goal of the “Evening with the Electorate” event was putting a face with a name and getting to know candidates on a personal level rather than just seeing them in a voting guide. Each candidate was allowed to introduce themselves and then there were a series of questions in which each candidate got a chance to answer. They got to share their platform and what they thought were the most important issues in Raleigh. Another goal of Dalton’s was to get people to the polls. Our Student Body Vice President, Mia Connell, coordinated carpooling so that everyone who needed to vote could get to their polling place!
Now, why is voting as a college student important? When we think about voting, we think, “oh one vote won’t matter, I don’t have time today.” In reality you are not the only one thinking that way. So, you plus the hundreds of others’ votes that are missing do end up counting in the long run.
Another reason is that we can shape the social agenda! If you are passionate about a certain social issue, then this is your chance to reach out to local or state government officials on what you think should be included in social discussions in the legislature. Also, economic policies are going to shape our future. Some of us are close to graduating college and starting our careers and we need to start thinking about benefits and social security for when we get older! If you want to change these policies, then vote!
Politicians will not address our needs unless we go out and vote. They are more likely to support initiatives that are more popular among the groups with the highest voter turnout. By voting, you are also affecting future generations. Not only are you doing your part to support the present issues but you are voting on policies, issues, and representatives that will be around for a while.
Students need to know the importance of voting and by creating events on campus we encourage them to get involved and vote for their local and state representatives!
Written by Emma Carter; Sophomore Criminology and International Studies Major with a Concentration in Global Relations at North Carolina State University. Carter is the ASG Campus Liaison for NCSU and plans to attend graduate school upon graduation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The University of North Carolina or The University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments.