Today: Apr 21, 2024

Students should get Election Day off

Ali Fernand Features Editor

This past Tuesday, Nov. 8, we had our 2022 midterm elections. I am not alone in saying that I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this election. Many issues are facing younger and marginalized people in America. The most concerning for me are reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ issues.  

Although Connecticut seems to be safe for those who have been affected by the lack of federal protection, it is still a matter of concern. These issues completely rely on being able to elect state legislators to keep reproductive and LGBTQ+ protections for those living in the state. If leadership were to change suddenly, then our protections could be taken away. The lack of federal laws of the land makes it much more important to elect local politicians that reflect the values we wish to see.  

It has always been bizarre to me that Election Day in America takes place on a Tuesday. Policies on getting the day off from work or school depend on the institution. In the “freest country” on the planet, would you not think we would want to make it as easy as possible to vote? 

Most countries that hold elections, not going to say all are democracies because that is up for debate,) hold their elections on a Saturday or a Sunday. That is when most of the work force has their time off. It would be the most desirable for a country to make it as easy as possible to vote. That would align with democratic values of trying to get everyone’s voice represented.  

However, it has long historically been hard for certain populations to vote. Though there have been increasing fights to get rid of any voter suppression, we are still not in a perfect place. Most voter suppression happens to those who struggle the most to get their voices heard. This includes the poor, People of Color, LGBTQ+, women, students and young people.  

Lots of people at our university fit under these populations. With many issues rising up among these populations, it is important that young people are encouraged to be able to get their votes out. Though polls are open from 6 a.m. – 8p.m. in Connecticut, having college obligations on Election Day makes it difficult for students to go out and vote. Some students are in classes most of the day, participate in extra-curricular activities, and/or have work. A student balancing all those obligations is not going to have the time to vote.  

That also brings the case for early voting, which has been extremely under attack in recent years. It is important we have early voting for those who have obligations on Election Day. However, I have spoken to many of my peers and a lot of them seem to be confused on how the process of early voting even works.  

The university does not seem to help fill the gaps that some students might have in learning about voting. There are many ways to vote, and as young adults it is important that our institution does what it can to encourage students to be active in their community. Students are highly at risk with the rising cost of college and living. We are also going to be affected by policies regarding climate change. 

We need to be encouraged and given time to give our input into our futures. Young people are some of the most underrepresented people in elections. This is not fair because we are the ones who will be most affected by the policies made. We should be given Election Day off from classes to not only get to the polls, but also have time to educate ourselves on what type of candidate we would like to see as college students. 

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