Relocation of voting polls decreases student votes
In case anyone missed it, the Cumberland County Commissioners voted to move the voting facility for Shippensburg Township away from the SU University Foundation building to the Emergency Services Building.
Arguments for the move vary from no one intending the SU Foundation building to be the permanent polling location, to the fact the SU Foundation building is an independent organization designed to raise money for the university, rather than exist as a township or borough facility.
Arguments against the move all involve voter disenfranchisement in some way or another.
No one can deny that the campaign to move the polling place to the foundation existed as an attempt to get more university students voting.
The move away from the foundation building will likely cause a decrease in student voter turnout.
I believe this because it is now further away from campus and most students just cannot be bothered to get to a place, less than a three-minute walk from campus, unless it involves getting completely trashed at night.
Now, admittedly, I am not much of a fan of voting in the first place, as stated in a previous piece of mine, “Don’t Vote.”
However, putting aside all the nonsense, for a moment, let us pretend all of the myth surrounding voting is true.
We need to ask ourselves: Do we really want to cater to a demographic who suddenly loses interest in voting?
Just because it takes more than a few minutes to get to the polling station?
After all, it is not like they are actually being forbidden from voting, or even having to go above and beyond the call of duty to go vote.
They just have to go a few more minutes if they are walking or driving, or they can just take the shuttle that the university always runs.
Furthermore, college students are notoriously uninformed about their voting choices and have no real incentive to become informed. However, college students love to think that taking an introductory political science course suddenly makes them experts because they know the basic outline of how a bill becomes a law and they know the names of who is on the ballot.
But help them if they actually have to answer any detailed questions about what the candidates they support actually want.
Or what those policies would actually do rather than just what the candidates say they will do.
The only nice thing about college students is that they are useful for charismatic political activists who are not interested in a political conversation, but merely interested in getting his/her horse across the finish line first.
Again, I am not arguing for disenfranchisement.
Since we are pretending that voting matters and the citizens actually have the power to change things, everyone should get a vote.
However, I see no reason why the commissioners or the township should go out of their way to cater to a demographic that does not consist of permanent residents or particularly informed citizens.