Although some went to the polls on Tuesday, many Montclair State University students stayed home on Election Day. Many were unaware of the candidates and the issues in their own communities and felt discouraged by the current state of politics.
According to research done by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, only 20% of young adults in New Jersey voted in the 2021 New Jersey gubernatorial election. This statistic seemed to continue into Tuesday’s election, as many students interviewed by The Montclarion knew little to nothing about the midterms.
Students cited a variety of reasons for not voting, from disenchantment with the political system to other personal obligations. Gabby Isip, a sophomore exercise science major, expressed her belief that her vote didn’t matter when compared to the others.
“There are thousands of people that vote,” Isip said. “And I don’t think that adding my opinion to it would make a difference.”
Montclair State did make some effort to get students to exercise their civic duty. The university held voter registration events for the past few months and even chartered a shuttle to go to polling locations on Election Day. However, the shuttles were largely unused.
Lauryn Miqueli, a junior sociology major, expressed her desire for the university to promote and educate students more about the voting process.
“They could have people just handing out flyers or [have] a tabling at the [Student] Center, even posting it more on their Instagram,” Miqueli said. “I feel like I follow a decent amount of Montclair [State] Instagram things. I feel like I didn’t really see anything.”
Although many students interviewed did not vote, some did. Cameryn Martin, a junior physical education major, expressed why he felt it was important to cast his vote and encouraged others to do the same.
“At the end of the day, you have the ultimate say,” Martin said. “It’s your generation. It’s your world. You [got to] live in it. And above all else, you have the ultimate say on how you want your world [and] your country to be [run].”
Thomas Ferman, a junior film and television major, didn’t vote due to work obligations, but he recognized the importance that the Gen Z vote will have.
“I would say the way they will affect our generation is way more tech-savvy than ever with social media,” Ferman said. “And the fact that we have all the resources we have, we’re going to be very educated. And we’re going to look back on this past election in the future. And we’re probably going to be more informed than previous generations that came before us.”