The Power of Youth
Rock the Vote Rallies Youth Electorate to Use its Voice
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 16:11
Students learned how their votes give them a voice that may impact the nation at the Rock the Vote event Thursday night.
Rock the Vote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to empower young people to claim their voice in the election.
Ethan Peterson, a freshman in mechanical engineering said he learned “how important it is for us younger students to get out and vote.” Peterson said that after attending the Rock the Vote event, he feels more motivated to vote.
“It comes down to all the little things,” he said. “If everybody said, ‘I’m not going to vote,’ it could change things drastically.”
The Issues and Ideas Committee of Campus Attractions organized this event to increase student involvement in politics.
Chris St. Amant, the issues and ideas coordinator, explained that the area of Fargo-Moorhead, particularly the college area, claim to make up a large portion of North Dakota’s democratic population.
“So, obviously they care,” he said, referring to students. “But why aren’t they voting?”
Life-coach John Germain Leto, former agent of Beyonce and Usher and rockstar coach on MTV’s “Made,” gave a presentation at the event about the power of the youth vote.
“Voting is just about expressing something that you believe in,” he said. “Your decision on Tuesday should be the most conscious decision you make. You have a voice.”
Rock the Vote statistics state that 18 to 29-year-olds make up a quarter of the entire electorate.
“That’s a lot of power,” St. Amant said. “If 100 percent of the population were to vote and we are a quarter of that … we have a quarter of choosing who the next president is.”
Heather Hall, a junior in public history, said she believes that the young population really can have a big impact on the election by voting. She said people just need to be aware of the issues that they care about and be informed on the candidates and voting procedures.
“We should make sure as a campus we inform others of what each candidate stands for… so they know deep down who they want to vote for, for their morals and values,” Hall said.
Leto asked the audience members what issues they were concerned about surrounding the election. Students named the economy, job market, college loans, women’s rights and gas prices among top issues.
Near the end of the presentation, Leto opened up the floor to students, offering them a chance to use their voices. After a shy pause, several students shared their views on issues they felt were important such as birth control and taxes.
Rock the Vote encourages students to do research to become educated on where the candidates stand on issues and make a personal decision, not based on how others vote.
The Rock the Vote event took place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Lower Level of the Memorial Union.