Young voters divided on casting ballots

Alisa Boswell

To vote or not?

When the question was put to Eastern New Mexico University students recently, the answers revealed a deep divide. Just as many previous generations, this group of young voters is split when it comes to voting and politics.

Freedom New Mexico conducted an unscientific poll, interviewing students in classes at ENMU about their plans for today’s election.

Of seven students in Nina Bjornsson’s English 319 class, two said they voted regularly and three are voting this time around.

Sophomore Alexandria Itzi, 19, said she does not vote because she does not know the full truth on issues.

“Any information I get from the news or the Internet is going to be filtered,” said Itzi. “I am not there to see things first-hand.”

Senior Zachary Graves, 26, said he keeps track of political issues but does not vote, because he also feels it will not make a difference.

“It’s frustrating when you get a candidate that doesn’t do anything he promised,” Graves said. “They (politicians) are all a bunch of empty suits.”

Another senior, Courtney Foley, 20, felt differently.

“I vote because even if there is some futility to it, I feel like I need to have the credibility that I’ve voted to be involved in issues I’m interested in,” Foley said.

Senior Jessica Maynerich, 20, agreed with Foley.

“I feel like if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about who’s in office,” Maynerich said.

In a freshman English class at Eastern taught by Opal Greer, all of the eight students said they intend to vote regularly and four intend to vote in today’s election.

Freshman Saibree Beltran, 18, said she feels voting is important for her education.

“It is important to have someone or something that will make your education better,” Beltran said. “Some candidates will push for education laws.”

Beltran said although she has not regularly kept up with all of the issues for today’s election, she feels she has kept up enough to feel confident in her vote.

Junior Amber Johnson, 22, said she changed her residency to New Mexico to be able to vote. Johnson said watching a candidate debate on television made her interested in the election.

Johnson said she does not normally keep up with politics but is trying to now, because she wants to play a part in decisions concerning education and the military.

Johnson said she believes her generation is skeptical on voting due to the politicians they have seen running in elections.

“They (politicians) say what the people want to hear to get into office than they don’t keep any of their promises,” Johnson said. “Nowadays, every politician is all about the money and our generation is starting to see that and feel skeptical about it.”

Greer, 23, a graduate assistant at ENMU, said she often talks to her students about voting and politics because she feels it is important for the younger generation to vote and to know when they are being told the truth on issues.

“I think that the older generations like to think that the younger generation doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Greer said. “But I think this generation is going to prove them wrong.”