As readers may know, Nov. 8 was Election Day. What adds significance to each election day is the influx of first-time voters. People have all sorts of experiences voting, but young adults in college have some of the more interesting stories as they navigate voting for their first time. Whether those college students are Philadelphia-based or not, they are now of age and can vote if they are registered to vote, which gives them a say in deciding who will lead the state of Pennsylvania next.
Pennsylvania-born students living on Drexel’s campus who are already registered and willing to vote cast their ballots in various places. They can do it either in an entirely new place in the city or back in their hometowns if they visit their families on weekends.
“It was in my local township building in a room behind the atrium,” says Dylan Slusser, a freshman communications major from Leesport, a town 70 miles outside of Philadelphia.
According to Slusser, his township building had “voting machines, so I just had to select whom I wanted to vote for, and then I turned in my ballot.”
Commuter students share a different story. Since these students are not living on campus, they often vote at varying times depending on their specific location.
“I voted near my home at the St. John Neuman place,” says Jaira Marcos, a first-year psychology major from South Philadelphia. “My mom voted later that day while my dad voted through mail.”
There is also the fact that Pennsylvania-born students can vote online or mail in their ballot if they decide to cast their ballot early.
“I had to sign up online for it, and they sent in a mail-in ballot in an envelope within another envelope that had the ballot, and I filled it out in pen and sealed it up and mailed it off,” says Charlotte Harayda, a first-year computer science major from Bethlehem.
Harayda explains that to apply online, you have to “put in all your information, you have to show your ID, you need your address and a reason for why you wanted a mail-in ballot instead of going in person.”
It is not just how these students vote that is important, but what they take away from it as they are voting while juggling class, clubs and other responsibilities they may have as college students. Slusser thinks that “voting is important since there is always a chance for your voice to be heard, plus you never know exactly what will happen.”
Harayda also felt that “It’s important to voice our opinions, especially as young people, and make a difference in democracy.”
Aside from their voting experiences, voting decisions on which side students lean towards gets decided by their ideological and political beliefs.
For Marcos, she said she “leaned toward democrat.” Her beliefs had a big say in that.
“For a while especially with how Congress wanted to overturn Roe V. Wade, I was concerned about reproductive rights, and as someone who is female and believes that abortion should be pro-choice, I especially wanted to vote in this election because it was an important topic and that people shouldn’t be controversial of what women choose to do with their bodies,” said Marcos.
Voting as a registered college student is an important experience because they have gained an ability that minors do not have. They have also gained the privilege to decide who will be elected, which impacts the future of key issues in the state of Pennsylvania.