Election Day is fast approaching and time is running out to register to vote. The last day to register in Pennsylvania is Oct. 19. If you are not yet registered to vote, take the next 10 minutes and get registered for this marquee election.
“I think it’s important to vote because that’s your Constitutional right. As a citizen, you’re given the opportunity to change this country,” David Freda, a senior psychology major and the President of the Messiah University Democrats, said.
While it is our Constitutional right to vote, not everybody in the world has that opportunity.
“Right now, in the world that we live in, it should be a right, but it is a privilege,” junior chemistry major and Vice President of the Conservative Club, Erik Olson said. “Everyone has the right to speak their mind, but because we live in a sinful and fallen world, not everyone is privileged to do that. My heart breaks for those who are not able to and who are not privileged to do that.”
In recent years, Messiah students have not taken advantage of this right and privilege.
“From when I have looked at the 2016 data, I think only about 56% of students voted,” Freda said. “That’s a decent amount, but I’m pretty disappointed in this especially heated election.”
Freda believes that it is about the same amount of students that are currently registered to vote in this year’s election.
“Although maybe it has changed just because of the nature of how the country is, with COVID and all. Maybe people want to voice their opinions more,” he said.
Despite the low turnouts in recent years, Olson remains optimistic about student voting.
“We signed up quite a few students and helped them register either to vote, in general, or for the absentee ballot, which was a great way to try and get campus involved,” Olson said.
During this election, a hot topic has been mail-in voting and fraud associated with that. Both Olson and Freda do not think that mail-in voter fraud will have any serious effect on the election.
“It does happen,” Olson said, “but percentage wise, it is so low that it will not make much of a difference. There is not a room somewhere where there are people signing ballots in other people’s names. So, in my opinion, do what you’re comfortable with.”
“There is very little chance of fraud. That’s not to say that it can’t happen. Right now, I would say if you are comfortable going to the polls, go,” Freda said. “But I think that people need to have that option to write in a ballot if they’re not comfortable doing so.”
Come Election Day on Nov. 3, students can let their voices be heard by going to the polls and voting for our officials for the next term. If you plan to vote in person, make sure you continue to follow Messiah University’s protocols for COVID-19. Either way, Olson wants to make sure students form their own opinions about candidates.
“Do your research. Research your candidates, what they stand for, what their past has been and even what questions they dodge,” he said. “But, also treat them like human beings and treat them like you would any other Christian. If they ask for forgiveness, give them forgiveness.”