Hampton U. students vow to go home or register here – and vote

By Toree Paden

This year's controversial U.S. presidential election have raised interest for many Hampton University students. Students that weren't concerned about being registered, or weren't of age to register for previous elections, have made it there priority to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Some young adults realize the importance of voting, and having a voice, no matter the political viewpoint.

According to campusvoteproject.org, only 17 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 cast ballots in the 2014 midterm Congressional elections. "1.7 million Americans between the age of 18 and 24 either don't know where to register," said the report, "or they simply miss the deadlines."

Furthermore, although Millennial-age voter surpassed Baby Boomers as potential voting blocs, only 19 percent of 18 to 29-year-old voters participated in the 2012 presidential election, according to an NPR report. Baby Boomer participation was double, 38 percent.

Although more students now realize the importance, not many of them take the necessary steps to make sure that they get registered. If they attend a college or university away from home, it can be a challenge to meet all the requirements in time. For that reason, many colleges and universities try to encourage students to get registered.

Hampton University in particular provides a convenient way to register students on campus right then and there. Greek organizations on campus and members of the Student Government Association spread the word and promote the importance of voting.

College students alone make a vast impact on which way the presidential race could potentially go. While others let the difficulty of voting and being away from home affect their decision to register, many Hampton University students, prefer to have their voices be heard.

"Sheesh! I hadn't really thought about it," said Kayla Sellers, a junior broadcast journalism major from Queens, New York. "I'll probably go home to vote."

Jorri Contee-Staten, a junior five-year MBA from Maryland said she planned on going home since she registered: "I'm going home Monday night [Nov. 7], and going to cast my vote the next morning."

Other students that were interviewed were registered and planned to vote via absentee ballot or to travel back to their home states.

Quadasia Walthour, a junior, political science major from Queens, New York, was registered in New York and planned to return home in November.

Tatyana Stevens, a freshman computer information systems major, from Atlanta, planned to do the same.

Sydney Shaw, a junior strategic communications major, is a Virginia native, and was excited about voting for the first time, in her home state.

"As a first-time voter, I recognize the importance of this election," said Angel Bodrick, a sophomore biology major from Huntsville, Alabama. "To make everything a lot more convenient, I decided to vote in Virginia last semester."

Kayla Collier, a junior kinesiology major from Atlanta, was registered at home, and plans to vote via absentee ballot, along with senior Khadijah Muhammad, a computer information systems major from Chicago.

Channing Kirkland, a psychology major from Atlanta, said she was once told, "Absentee ballots are counted last and this election is nothing to play with. I want to make sure my vote is counted and counted first."

Mecca Evans, Maya McCombs and Mararya Henderson contributed to this report. All writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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