“Get it done, get it done, get in done,” Bryan Swartz, sophomore in political science and Kansas State Student Governing Association’s state and local relations director, said in reference to students who have yet to register for the upcoming election.
Oct. 18 is the last day to register to vote in the state of Kansas, and can be done by mail, online or in person.
“I think it’s a really crucial time to be politically engaged, considering all that is going on that could potentially shape our future,” Swartz said. “College student voices have typically been underrepresented on state-level politics, particularly in Kansas. If kids can become politically engaged and involved in their local elections, I think there would be a changing tide in voting and more representation of our age group.”
Andrew Crowder, graduate student in civil engineering and SGA’s governmental relations committee chair, said the election process should be an exciting time for students, and students should be excited to complete their voter registration form.
“For a lot of us this is the first time we get to formulate our new ideas, confront our society and take a stance on what candidates will represent us and those ideas,” Crowder said. “And with all the notoriety this public election has received, it’s critical to remind people of all levels of the election from federal, state and local. The decisions made through the state and locally will have the biggest impact of our daily lives.”
Lain Littlejohn, senior in animal sciences and industry, said it is important for all college students to be registered by the Oct. 18 deadline, even if they are not sure how to feel about the presidential debate, because there are still local-level elections.
“I think it is important for all college students to be registered because part of the college experience is molding us to become contributing members of society, and part of that is making sure our voices are heard and represented,” Littlejohn said.
Littlejohn said it’s important for college students to know what’s going on outside of campus.
“I’m excited to vote this year because not only is this my first time voting, but also because college students tend to get sucked into their studies and not take part in politics or elections,” Littlejohn said. “I think it’s important to know what is going on not only on your campus, but at a city, state and national level, as well.”
To register to vote in local, state and national elections, students can visit their county clerk’s office or submit an online form through the Secretary of State’s Office at https://www.kdor.ks.gov/Apps/VoterReg/Default.aspx. Students can also print the form from the same website and mail it to their county election’s officer. If mailed, the form still must be postmarked by Oct. 18.
“You got four days left; it’s easy to do and it’s easy to vote,” Brett Montague, second-year veterinary medicine student, said. “This is actually my fourth or fifth time I’ll be voting, and it really isn’t hard at all. It is worth your time and you even get a sticker out of it.”
Montague said that outside of the “I voted” sticker recognition, the issues at stake should be reason enough to register to vote for this upcoming election.
“I think there are a lot of important issues going on in our country this year,” Montague said. “Especially with this president election and the next four years; I plan on getting a job and entering the workforce. I don’t know where exactly I’ll be, but I know that there are significant national issues that will affect that.”
But, Montague said, it’s not just the national issues that students should be concerned about and ready to take a stance on.
“Even if you aren’t invested nationally, there are issues at the local level,” Montague said. “Look at the issues in your own community and out your own back door, the city council stuff. There are so many things here in Manhattan, Kansas, that we should be keeping our eye on.”
Swartz said issues college students should be concerned about include the increasing costs of higher education, safety on campuses in relation to the gun policy and equal representation of all demographics.
Jael Whitney, junior in marketing, is studying abroad this semester and is still “really into elections.” So much so that she will be taking a stance on these issues by submitting her absentee ballot to the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic.
“I have always been really into elections; I see them as ‘more power to the people,’” Whitney said. “When I was a little kid, I had a mock election for my stuffed animals. It’s rewarding to rock the ‘I voted’ sticker, and the people that work at the voting places I’ve been to have always been really nice.”
Whitney said students need to be registered for the real elections, even if they feel indecisive, because if at the last minute they decide they want to vote, it will be too late.
“Even if you’re from out of state, use an absentee ballot or register where you know your vote will matter the most,” Littlejohn said. “It is important that we register and make it known who we want to lead us.”