Election 2012: Keep an eye on college voters in 2012
|Linda Schacht will host debate-watch and discussion parties for students and the community tonight (10/16) and Monday (10/22) in Shamblin Theatre. For more information click here.|
While signs indicate that college voters are not as engaged in election politics in 2012 as they were in the high watermark year 2008, the power of the college vote is still crucial to the 2012 election and students should strive to make their voice heard, said Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership as well as a former White House staffer and political activist.
Schacht’s institute, along with the communication and journalism; and history, politics and philosophy departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, are hosting four debate watches for students and the community, and Schacht believes political operators should keep a close eye on the college vote on Nov. 6.
“The big question for 2012 is who among the youth demographic will vote and who won’t. Those results will indicate whether the college vote is now a sustainable, powerful force in the campaign process, or if 2008 was an exception to past voting trends. It will also show the effects of new laws in various states making it harder for many college students to vote at all,” said Schacht.
In Tennessee, not only does the new voter identification law specifically exclude student IDs from being used at the polls, but the law also prohibits an out-of-state student turning 18 from registering to vote by mail and then also voting absentee by mail in their first election. The student must register in person at their county of residence before they can receive an absentee ballot to vote by mail in their first election.
“Both students and political activists should be watching closely how Tennessee’s and other laws affect the student vote in this election, and then ask themselves if making voter fraud more difficult is worth making it more difficult for a rising, powerful new demographic to vote as well,” she said.
Students are invited to watch the last two presidential debates at Pizza and Politics in Shamblin Theatre, tonight,(10/16) and Monday (10/22). For more details, click here.
Click here and select "Inside Politics; Vice Presidential Debate" to see Linda Peek Schacht discuss the Oct. 11 debate on Inside Politics with Pat Nolan.