Opinion: Fake politics alive and well in resident halls; real politics, not

Ryan McCarthy

I’ve always been largely indifferent toward any sort of student council. I ran once in the fifth grade and was excited that one other person actually voted for me, but I’ve had little interest in it since.

Throughout high school student council, it was an effective way to delay class even though it was a measure of who was the most popular, while any action they took went unnoticed, if there was any action at all.

In college I learned of something known as the “hall council” when a girl knocked on my door one evening to ask me to vote for her. She informed me that not only did student council go past high school, but now there was door-to-door campaigning for it.

The year continued, and fliers for meetings were stuck on my door. Flavored condoms were slid under my door about one or two times a month, so naturally I was surprised when trying to get permission to get people registered to vote. The response was that it was a form of solicitation, and they didn’t want to “bother” the residents by giving them the easy opportunity to take 30 seconds to perform an important civic duty.   

I checked for laws regarding solicitation, and any definition regarding the practice involved the condition that soliciting involved monetary transactions, which registering to vote does not.

The College Democrats, along with other organizations, have taken to dining areas to register hundreds of students to vote. Some aren’t interested, and many are already registered. And thus five seconds of their day is gone, resulting in almost no difference at all. Then for many others, especially freshmen, they are not registered and say they’ve been meaning to. When we tell them it’s a process that will take a mere two minutes and that we will even submit the registrations ourselves, they look surprised and eagerly take the forms.

With college tuition rising and other issues surrounding young people including healthcare and employment, the 18-25 age demographic must be more involved in the political process, and the school should encourage, not prevent, student organizations from making paths to participation readily available.

Voting is one of the most import actions an individual can take, especially when it’s not an action able to be taken in so many other nations. The College Democrats, along with other organizations, will continue to make the voting process more available to students and emphasize the importance of being politically active.

Ryan McCarthy is a sophomore political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].