International students are in the dark when it comes to American politics, but also have a solution to this issue as well as limited youth voter turnout.
Election fever is starting up again with the US midterm elections occurring Nov. 6, and many people on campus have been curious about who they will vote for, especially in the current political climate and international students are no exception.
Despite belonging to a different country, many international students are interested in American politics, but don’t have the information necessary to develop an informed opinion.
With the voting rate of citizens between 18 and 29 of the last election being 46.1 percent according to the US Census, there seems to be an issue with the youth vote in American elections. Talking to some international students on the FDU campus, however, has offered a change in perspective and ideas of how we can increase this voter turnout.
Graduate student Kommuru Manaswini mentions that she doesn’t know much about American politics, but has tried to use information around campus to get a better understanding.
“I do not know American elections. I just know Trump and Obama…But when I’m roaming in the university I have seen some advertisements, ones that want you to participate in the elections,” Manaswini said.
Manaswini’s comments echo the opinions of many US students, who might not know the specifics about the elections, but know that people want them to vote.
Voter turnouts among younger generations have been underwhelming in recent times.
According to an article by CIRCLE, or the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, nearly six million citizens age 18-29 were registered to vote, but did not participate in the 2016 election.
When looking through the data from the 2016 Survey of the Performance of American Elections, or SPAE, the main (65 percent) reason young people, with or without a college education, didn’t vote in the last election was because they didn’t like the candidates or issues.
Another main problem for young people with voting, with 47 percent for college exposed citizens and 44 percent for citizens without college experience, is that they were too busy to vote on election day.
Computer Science international graduate student Mounica Bhavani Mallampati mentioned the same reason behind why international students do not get involved in politics in America, saying they “have too much work.”
This supports the idea that currently American politicians are not reaching out to young people during the elections. Politicians are giving them little information or motivation to participate in the voting process.
Mallampati mentioned the idea of a weekly email to students informing them not only how they can register to vote, but also including information about current electoral candidates.
“At least they [students] can take 10-15 minutes to read and understand about politics in [the] US,” Mallampati said.
Presenting information about the elections in a quick, digestible format might help give students the information they need to be motivated to participate in the American elections in the future. Even adding links to websites about the issues politicians are tackling within the emails about voting could be beneficial to showing young people what their vote would be helping to accomplish.
Students want to know more information, even international students, but the way information is delivered has changed considerably. Thankfully, there’s always an eager audience willing to learn more about the nation’s politics, even if they don’t have permanent residency there.
International student Sana Shimada wants students to be more involved with politics at FDU.
“I want more information for young people,” Shimada said.