Student Voter Participation on N.C. A&T Campus

Photo+Courtesy+of+Sydney+Ross

Photo Courtesy of Sydney Ross

Kayla Hare, Contributor

Midterm elections are known to have significantly less voter turnout than presidential elections. Many North Carolina A&T State University student leaders have been at the forefront of this issue as they seek to gain voter participation across campus for the upcoming midterm election on November 8, 2022. 

Various N.C. A&T organizations including the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement (OLCE), the People’s Administration 2.0 (SGA), the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Engagement, the Political Action Committee and more have hosted events all semester promoting voter education and civic duty. We have seen a lot of participation at these events, but the numbers do not reflect. 

Sydney Allen, the current Freshman class President, spoke on her concerns of the huge gap in voter participation. As a member of the People’s Administration 2.0, it is her allegiance to promote civic engagement from students. Her major concern is political illiteracy. 

“Even though SGA and OLCE post about the candidates, students aren’t going to read every bit of information,” Allen says. 

Politics can be an intricate subject for young adults to understand, causing them to neglect its purpose. Sydney Allen believes the events that they are rolling out are effective and of great intent, the student body must just pick up their slack and get involved in the matters that pertain to them!

Jayda Gibbs, a sophomore Biology student, attended most of the events promoting voter participation and political involvement. However, she has not voted yet, nor is she registered. 

“I’m not from here and my duty belongs to Baltimore,” Gibbs said.

Seemingly, this is the case for many students on campus. Even though they spend just as much of their time in North Carolina as residents, students at N.C A&T that come from all across the country much rather vote with their hometowns, leaving North Carolina young voter numbers low.

The midterm elections include races for federal, state, and local government positions. On the ballots are many representatives advocating for issues that directly impact students including, but not limited to abortion rights, gun control, wage laws, access to healthcare, HBCU funding and student loan debt. Students have had many voices about these particular problems, but fail to do their civic duty and make a change. 

Early voting has been running since October 20, 2022 and is scheduled to run until November 5, 2022. Yet, less than 50 students have voted thus far. The school’s population of eligible students to vote surpasses thousands, making those who voted such a small percentage. 

In fact, less than 1% of students are registered. There is a huge gap between the number of N.C. A&T students and the number of North Carolina college voters as a whole. Aggies fall behind and are amongst the lowest of the other schools in the UNC system regarding likelihood to vote. N.C. A&T continues to do everything in its power to increase these numbers. 

J’naya Foster, a first year Architectural Engineering student, complained about her lack of transportation. 

“Without a car or a license, I have no way to access the polls that are off campus,” Foster said.

North Carolina A & T answered promptly with free transportation. “Roll to the Polls” was presented to students by the N.C. A&T’s Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement. Buses ran on Thursday November 3rd, 2022 transporting students to and from voting sites in the city. This was a free service and even provided students with hoodies to keep warm along the way. 

N.C. A&T continues to do everything in its power to generate participation in the midterm elections. There are many informational sessions and interactive events set out to do just this. 

The midterm elections will determine the outcomes of many problems that will impact college students. It is important that college students are the ones voting for these problems that could drastically change the outcomes for their futures. 

Find more information on the current election, along with instructions on how to register to vote on WUNC, NCSBE, and NCVOTER.