Reflecting On Election Year 2020

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Madison Long, theWord Lead Reporter

It is 2021 and the dust has settled on the 2020 Presidential election. Joseph Robinette Biden is the newly elected leader of the free world. 

According to Pew Research Center, Americans voted in record numbers of 158.4 million. 65 percent of the ballots casted came from the American youth. Yes, us! Everyone knows that voting is important; last year’s election proved who it is important to. 

A range of issues important to the American youth were on the line, this included student loans and funds for higher education, healthcare, and opportunities for career development. 

A&T History

Voting has been a challenge for many Americans belonging to various subgroups and subcultures (i.e., minorities). This was due in part to the presence of corruption, bigotry, and ignorance.

 While minorities today still struggle with voting comfortably without fear of deterrence or difficulty, there are less occurrences now than there were then. Today, there are multiple avenues in which Americans, specifically the youth, can vote in. 

How Voting Was Conducted

Last year, North Carolina A&T State University created an avenue in which eligible students could vote. The University hosted a polling site on-campus at the James B. Dudley building in which students, staff, and the community could cast their vote.

 Students also had the option to do mail-in ballots by utilizing the address of their residence hall and room assignment. The University was adamant about ensuring that their  students not only had a place to vote, but a welcoming and safe environment to make their voices heard.

Importance of On-Campus Voting

N.C. A&T students were privileged with the ability to vote on-campus last year. Many volunteers from the local community came out to serve as poll-workers and poll managers. 

The support the university received from these community members expressed to students that they are not only conscientious of their vote, but how comfortable and knowledgeable they are about the process. 

When asked about her experience with on-campus voting, sophomore, and newly-elected senator for the College of Science and Technology, Ma’Nai Kerr, reported that her experience was, “…more impactful for me because people were encouraging.”

 Kerr also added that she felt like people wanted her to vote. “Everything was very clear-cut and easy, no intimidation,” Kerr said. As a student-leader on campus, Kerr exercised her civic duty, thus showing her community and peers that support from on-campus voting provides for a more fulfilling and empowering experience. 

It’s on US!

This past election demonstrated to us all that voting is an intentional act. In other words, students must have been aware of who they were voting for, how to register, how to vote, and where to vote. 

An assessment of all of the following were and are important to an out-come of an election. However, new voters, especially the youth, lack the experience of being seasoned in the following areas. For this reason, we were tasked with being even more intentional about educating the university’s community. 

When asked to speak on the importance of intentionality with voting, the newly-elected Mister A&T, Joshua Suiter, commented, “It’s on us now, we are a large percent of the vote,” Suiter said.  

Suiter could not be more correct; the youth today is the overwhelming majority of the votes casted in the general and local elections. An important fact to mention is that this majority happens only when we do vote. While the fact is obvious, it is a crucial concept to note as some youth believe that their vote is insignificant. Hopefully, after hearing from your peers, I hope you reconsider because like our very own Mister said, “It’s on Us.”