Editorial: Consequences of political apathy

Students should consider implications of not voting

By TNH Editorial Staff
On February 25, 2014

The University of New Hampshire is fortunate to be the largest university in the political swing state of New Hampshire, famously the first in the nation. As a result, the state and the university attract politicians from inside and outside of the state.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen was the latest politician to visit the university to speak about not only her work in the U.S. Senate, which is relevant to students - and all New Hampshire residents - but also to visit the university during a re-election year.

Shaheen spoke on many issues that affect young voters and students, but a statement that she made on Monday strongly illustrated the importance of voting and political awareness: "I think the bottom line is that elections have consequences," she said when discussing young voter participation.

Although N.H. is a politically active state, many students do not participate in many political discussions or vote in elections in which they are eligible to vote. Shaheen explained how important it is to vote, citing the example of a state funding cut as a result of legislation from the 2010 election, when she said that young voters were not active participants.

This is a topic - or consequence of an election - that comes up time and time again among students, professors, faculty members and New Hampshire residents, as it is an issue that has pervaded the university and students over the past few years.

Over the coming months and the next year, the university is likely to see an increase in visits from politicians and in political discussions as the next political election draws near. During the 2012 presidential election season, New Hampshire and the university were visited by numerous politicians, with a visit to campus from former president Bill Clinton and a visit to Portsmouth from President Barack Obama, as just two of the political campaign stops.

And as these visits will likely increase as the next presidential election approaches, students will hopefully increase and focus their attention on the issues worth voting upon. However, this is not likely, as many students do not consider the consequences of not voting, but rather think about the lack of impact that not voting will have on their daily lives.

Perhaps if eligible voters consider not voting in the context of having consequences and not in the context of being a passive inaction, more students would realize the impact that their votes can have on the country, the state, the university and their personal lives.

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